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University  of  California  •  Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office  University  of  California 

The  Bancroft  Library  Berkeley,  California 

Katherine  Field  Caldwell 


With  an  Introduction  by 
Mary -Ann  Lutzker 

Interviews  Conducted  by 
Suzanne  B.  Riess 
in  1992  and  1993 

Copyright  •  1993  by  The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California 

Since  1954  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  has  been  interviewing  leading 
participants  in  or  well -placed  witnesses  to  major  events  in  the  development  of 
Northern  California,  the  Vest,  and  the  Nation.  Oral  history  is  a  modern  research 
technique  involving  an  interviewee  and  an  informed  interviewer  in  spontaneous 
conversation.  The  taped  record  is  transcribed,  lightly  edited  for  continuity  and 
clarity,  and  reviewed  by  the  interviewee.  The  resulting  manuscript  is  typed  in 
final  form,  indexed,  bound  with  photographs  and  illustrative  materials,  and 
placed  in  The  Bancroft  Library  at  the  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  and 
other  research  collections  for  scholarly  use.  Because  it  is  primary  material, 
oral  history  is  not  intended  to  present  the  final,  verified,  or  complete 
narrative  of  events.  It  is  a  spoken  account,  offered  by  the  interviewee  in 
response  to  questioning,  and  as  such  it  is  reflective,  partisan,  deeply  involved, 
and  irreplaceable. 


All  uses  of  this  manuscript  are  covered  by  a  legal  agreement 
between  The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California  and  Katherine 
Field  Caldwell  dated  November  6,  1992.  The  manuscript  is  thereby 
made  available  for  research  purposes.  All  literary  rights  in  the 
manuscript,  including  the  right  to  publish,  are  reserved  to  The 
Bancroft  Library  of  the  University  of  California,  Berkeley.  No  part 
of  the  manuscript  may  be  quoted  for  publication  without  the  written 
permission  of  the  Director  of  The  Bancroft  Library  of  the  University 
of  California,  Berkeley. 

Requests  for  permission  to  quote  for  publication  should  be 
addressed  to  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  486  Library, 
University  of  California,  Berkeley  94720,  and  should  include 
identification  of  the  specific  passages  to  be  quoted,  anticipated 
use  of  the  passages,  and  identification  of  the  user.  The  legal 
agreement  with  Katherine  Caldwell  requires  that  she  be  notified  of 
the  request  and  allowed  thirty  days  in  which  to  respond. 

It  is  recommended  that  this  oral  history  be  cited  as  follows: 

Katherine  Field  Caldwell,  "Family  and 
Berkeley  Memories,  and  the  Study  and 
Profession  of  Asian  Art,"  an  oral  history 
conducted  in  1992  and  1993  by  Suzanne  B. 
Riess,  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  The 
Bancroft  Library,  University  of 
California,  Berkeley,  1993. 

Copy  no. 

Katherine  F.  Caldwell,  1993 

Photograph  by  Suzanne  B.  Riess 

Cataloging  information 

CALDWELL,  Katherine  Field  (b.  1906)  Professor  of  Asian  Art 

Ff  Hilly  *nd  Berkeley  Memories,  and  the  Study  and  Profession  of  Asian  Art. 
1993,  vii,  269  pp. 

Family  history:  Sara  Bard  Field,  Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood,  and  father, 
Albert  Ehrgott;  memories  of  suffragists;  poet  and  writer  friends,  artists, 
Beniamino  Bufano,  Ansel  Adams,  Genevieve  Taggard,  others;  life  in  Los 
Gatos,  and  on  Russian  Hill,  San  Francisco;  travel  to  Italy,  1924;  college 
at  Wisconsin,  and  Radcliffe;  marriage  to  Professor  James  Caldwell,  and 
observations  of  English  department,  UC  Berkeley:  Dylan  Thomas,  Josephine 
Miles,  Benjamin  Lehman,  others;  career  in  art  history:  Legion  of  Honor, 
Treasure  Island  Fair,  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art;  graduate  studies  in 
Asian  art,  and  faculty  position,  Mills  College,  1951-1971;  mentors  Langdon 
Warner,  Otto  Maenchen;  bringing  the  Brundage  Collection  to  San  Francisco, 
1958,  the  Society  for  Asian  Art,  and  docent  program. 

Introduction  by  Mary-Ann  Lutzger,  Ph.D. ,  Associate  Professor,  Mills 

Interviewed  1992-1993  by  Suzanne  B.  Riess.   The  Regional  Oral  History 
Office,  The  Bancroft  Library,  University  of  California,  Berkeley. 

TABLE  OF  CONTENTS --Ka the rine  Caldwell 

INTRODUCTION- -by  Mary-Ann  Lutzker,  Ph.D. 
INTERVIEW  HISTORY- -by  Suzanne  Riess 




Kay's  Parents  Separate  1 

Earlier  Memories  of  Absenses  and  Returns  3 

Brother  Albert  and  Life  in  Portland  7 

The  Charm  and  Intellect  of  Sara  Bard  Field  10 

Sara  in  Pasadena  Sanitarium,  1913  12 

Goldfield:  A  Nevada  Divorce,  Malaria  15 

In  San  Francisco  with  Mary  and  Lemuel  Parton,  1914  18 

Life  with  Father  in  Alameda,  1915  20 

The  1915  Fair,  The  Suffragists  22 

Berkeley  in  1916:  Houses,  Playmates,  Parks  23 

Albert's  Experiments  25 

An  Independent  Child,  Transportation  26 

Father  and  Daughter  28 

Social  Isolation  and  Self-Consciousness  30 

Uniqueness  of  Being  the  Child  of  a  Suffrage  Leader              32 

Sara's  First  Address  in  San  Francisco  33 


The  Accident,  1918,  and  Aftermath  36 

Painful  Memories,  Visits  40 

Sara's  Breakdown  45 

Presence  and  Influence  of  Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood  47 

Kay's  Life  on  Hold  49 


Women's  Party  Meeting,  Washington,  1921,  via  Chicago  51 

The  Adult  World,  San  Francisco  55 

Rebellion,  Reconciliation,  Berkeley  56 

Berkeley  Fire,  1923  58 

College  Thoughts  60 

People:  Genevieve  Taggard,  Hedwiga  Reicher,  Ed  Grabhorn  61 
People:  Powys  Brothers,  Nellie  and  Maurice  Brown,  Lincoln 

Steffens  64 

Sexual  Awareness  66 

People:  Tony  Luhan,  Ansel  Adams,  Ralph  Stackpole  68 
People:  Helen  and  Ansley  Salz,  the  Menuhins,  and  Others  From 

the  World  of  Music  70 

People :  Beniamino  Buf ano  74 

The  Home  on  Russian  Hill  75 

Los  Gatos  and  the  Marengos  77 

People:  Noel  Sullivan  78 

Poetry  Talk  80 

Sara  and  Colonel  Wood  as  a  Couple  82 

Sara's  Bout  with  Colitis,  1923  83 

To  Italy,  January  1924  85 

Languages  86 

Seeing  Art,  and  Life,  in  Europe  with  Pops  87 

Paris:  Frugality,  Ezra  Pound,  Ulysses  89 

Discoveries  in  a  Diary,  1923  92 


College  Choice  96 

Wisconsin,  and  Alexander  Meiklejohn  97 

Meeting  Janes  Caldwell;  Friends  at  Wisconsin  98 

Jin,  and  Sara  and  Colonel  Wood  102 

Radcliffe  Studies,  A.N.  Whitehead,  and  Others  104 

Troubled  Tutors  106 

Issues  of  Feninisn  and  Westernness  108 

Art  History,  Langdon  Warner  110 

Marriage,  and  Travel  Time  114 
Master's  Degree:  Paul  Sachs,  and  Consequences  for  San  Francisco  114 

Asian  Art  Studies  116 


A  Job,  a  First  Home,  and  a  Visitor,  Ella  Young  118 
Benjamin  Lehman,  "Bull"  Durham,  and  the  Bronsons  and  the  Clines  120 

The  Walter  Morris  Harts,  T.S.  Eliot,  and  Social  Mores  122 

The  Denneses,  and  the  Rosses  125 

Jim  Caldwell 's  Academic  and  ACLU  Interests  127 

Friendship  with  Mr.  Shiota  128 
Ben  Lehman's  Circle,  and  Wives  Judith  Anderson  and  Henrietta 

Durham  131 

A  Story  About  Muriel  Rukeyser  133 

Una  and  Robinson  Jeffers,  and  a  Letter,  1929  134 

An  Evening  with  Dylan  Thomas,  1949  137 

The  Loyalty  Oath  139 

A  Woman's  Place,  Women  Friends  141 

Josephine  Miles  143 

Jim  Caldwell 's  Teaching,  and  His  Personality  145 

Having  Children  149 

A  High  Sierra  Retreat,  Woods  Lake  152 

Dan  and  Sara  Caldwell  155 

Sara  Bard  Field's  Suicide  Attempts  160 


The  Legion  of  Honor  Job;  Directors  164 

Treasure  Island  Fair,  Arts  of  the  Pacific  165 
About  Elizabeth  Huff,  Alfred  Salmony,  Albert  Bender,  and 

Mills  College  169 

A  Series  of  Job  Opportunities  171 

Grace  McCann  Morley  and  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art  173 

Art  History  Graduate  Studies,  UC  Berkeley,  Faculty  177 

Otto  Maenchen  and  Anna  Maenchen  179 

More  on  Treasure  Island,  Arts  of  the  Pacific  180 

Art  on  the  Gayway  182 

Friends  of  Far  Eastern  Art,  and  Other  Early  Interest  in 

Asian  Art  183 

More  on  Graduate  Studies  185 

Job  at  Mills  College,  1951  190 

Lynn  White's  Presidency  of  Mills  191 

Course  Work  in  Art  History  193 

The  Students  194 

Academic  Life  and  Resources  at  Mills  196 

Gallery  Exhibitions  at  Mills  198 

Professional  Crisis,  and  Resolution  200 

Further  Teaching  Experiences  202 

Research  in  Japan  on  Nara  Ehon  204 

Continuing  Professional  Relationships  207 


The  Germ  of  the  Idea,  1958  209 

A  Lunch  Meeting  210 

Selling  the  Bond  Issue  211 

Dorothy  and  Morse  Erskine  213 

The  Purpose  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art  214 

Rene-Yvon  Lefebvre  d'Argence  215 

The  Docent  Program  218 

Jan  Fontein,  and  the  Asian  Art  Museum  Directorship  221 

Stories  of  Avery  Brundage  222 

Activities  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art  224 

Harry  Packard  226 

VIII  A  TOUR  OF  3  VINE  LANE  229 


A.  "Remembering  the  1923  Fire,"  from  Hillside  Neighborhood 

Newsletter.  1992.  242 

B.  "An  American  Patron,  Albert  Bender  of  San  Francisco,"  by 

Katherine  Field  Caldwell,  American  Federation  of  Arts  Magazine 

of  Art.  August  1938.  243 

C.  "Guidebook  to  Sexy  Sculpturing,"  by  Ralph  Craib,  San  Francisco 

Chronicle.  June  26,  1964.  249 

D.  "From  Winckelmann  to  Warburg,  Art  History  at  Mills,"  by  Mary 

Manning  Wale,  Mills  Magazine.  May- June  1972.  250 

E.  "Farewell  to  Katherine  Caldwell,"  by  Nancy  Thompson  Price,  Mills 

Quarterly.  May  1971.  255 

F.  "Afterword"  by  Katherine  Field  Caldwell,  Sara  Bard  Field.  Poet  and 

Suffragist.  The  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  The  Bancroft  Library, 
UC  Berkeley,  1979.  256 

INDEX  266 

INTRODUCTION --by  Mary-Ann  Lutzker,  Ph.D. 

Katherine  Caldwell  is  one  of  the  most  dynamic  women  I  have  met.   At 
the  age  of  eighty-five  she  is  still  deeply  involved  in  the  world  of  Asian 
art,  women's  issues  and  contemporary  political  events.   She  is  a  woman 
with  liberal  leanings  and  strong  convictions,  who  in  the  midst  of  many  a 
discussion  about  racial  inequities,  the  deficit,  the  U.S  involvement  in 
Vietnam,  abortion,  and  gender  issues,  has  firmly  proclaimed  that  she  is  a 
card-carrying  member  of  the  ACLU,  sending  out  clear  signals  that  her 
views  are  a  reflection  of  her  strong  will  and  character. 

It  was  during  the  Cambodian  crisis  and  the  turmoil  of  the  Vietnam 
Var  that  I  first  met  Katherine  in  a  seminar  on  Borobudur  at  the 
University  of  California,  Berkeley.   At  the  time  I  was  a  graduate  student 
from  England  feeling  overwhelmed  by  the  Berkeley  scene  and  the  political 
events  that  were  unfolding  in  Asia,  particularly  as  Southeast  Asia  was  to 
be  the  focus  of  my  research.  Undaunted  by  world  events,  Katherine  was 
planning  to  visit  the  ancient  Buddhist  and  Hindu  monuments  of  Indonesia, 
where  the  communist  regime  of  President  Sukarno  had  recently  been 

Katherine 's  participation  in  the  seminar  was  instructive  to  all  of 
us .   She  wanted  to  know  everything  about  the  Central  Javanese  monuments . 
Her  questions  were  insightful  and  stimulating.   She  was  determined  to  be 
an  informed  traveller.   I  found  her  approach  inspiring,  because  knowing 
that  she  had  recently  retired  from  a  long  career  teaching  Asian  art 
history,  I  was  amazed  that  she  would  still  want  to  pursue  learning  about 
art  and  culture  with  such  intensity. 

I  think  it  may  have  been  at  this  point  that  I  realized  that 
Katherine 's  inquiry  into  different  areas  of  art  was  a  lifelong  passion, 
that  learning  for  her  would  never  stop,  it  was  a  way  of  life. 
Katherine 's  world  was  now  opening  up.   No  longer  restricted  by  the 
limitations  of  the  semester  system,  and  having  to  travel  to  Asia  during 
the  unbearable  heat  of  the  summer,  she  would  now  have  the  freedom  to  go 
when  she  wanted  and  to  stay  however  long  she  wanted. 

It  was  during  the  coffee  breaks  that  I  learned  that  Katherine  had 
taught  Asian  art  history  at  Mills  College.   During  our  conversations  she 
would  tell  us  how  impressed  she  was  by  the  focus  of  the  work  we  were 
doing  as  graduate  students.  However,  I  was  far  more  in  awe  of  what  she 
had  accomplished  and  what  she  was  doing.   We  may  have  known  a  few 
esoteric  details  about  some  ancient  South  and  Southeast  Asian  monuments. 
On  the  other  hand,  Katherine  was  knowledgeable  about  and  had  been 
teaching  the  art  of  China,  Japan,  and  India.   Furthermore,  her  area  of 
research  was  Japanese  art,  and  she  was  just  embarking  on  an  area  of  new 
research,  the  Edo  period  Nara-Ehon  scroll  paintings.  Katherine  was  eager 
to  explore  new  intellectual  horizons. 


It  was  some  ten  years  later  in  1982  that  my  friendship  with 
Katherine  began  to  develop,  as  also  did  my  feminist  conscience.   I  was 
now  teaching  at  Mills  in  the  position  that  Katherine  had  held  for  twenty 
years.  Katherine  was  concerned  about  the  status  of  Asian  studies  at 
Mills,  and  1  sensed  that  she  was  relieved  that  a  woman  was  again  teaching 
in  her  area.  On  my  way  home  from  work  I  would  often,  and  still  do,  stop 
at  her  elegant  home  on  Vine  Lane.  Over  cups  of  tea  and  glasses  of  wine 
our  conversations  covered  Katherine 's  world.   I  learned  about  the 
problems  she  had  teaching  as  a  woman  at  a  woman's  college.   She  told  me 
anecdotes  about  the  attitude  of  the  art  department  at  Mills  which  was 
openly  hostile  towards  art  historians,  and  in  particular  female  art 

1  learned  from  Katherine  that  Sara  Bard  Field,  the  noted  feminist 
and  writer,  was  her  mother.   This  explained  Katherine 's  interest  in  the 
women's  movement  and  her  concern  about  the  treatment  of  women  faculty  at 
Mills  and  Berkeley,  and  also  the  intensity  of  her  questions  to  me  about 
how  I  as  a  woman  was  managing  to  cope  with  the  pressures  of  a 
professional  life  that  demanded  almost  total  dedication  to  teaching  and 
research,  and  extended  periods  of  travel  abroad:  how  was  I  able  to  keep 
my  family  life  together?  Having  experienced  the  tensions  that  a  woman 
faces  in  trying  to  balance  the  responsibilities  of  being  a  wife,  mother, 
and  professional  woman,  Katherine  is  aware  of  the  complexities  that  face 
women  today,  and  I  sense  her  concern  about  the  seemingly  unsolvable 
position  that  we  find  ourselves  in. 

Katherine  has  lived  her  life  surrounded  by  art  and  artists.  Growing 
up  in  the  San  Francisco  Bay  area  she  was  influenced  by  her  step-father's 
interest  in  Chinese  furniture  and  Chinese  paintings.   As  a  young  girl  she 
would  visit  Chinatown  and  Chinese  shops  where  she  found  that  she  was 
fascinated  by  the  oriental  world.   It  was  not  until  she  went  to  study 
under  Langdon  Warner  at  Harvard,  however,  that  her  latent  interests  in 
Asian  aesthetics  and  culture  developed.   Fueled  with  a  passion  for  things 
Asian,  and  particularly  for  things  Japanese,  Katherine  was  dismayed  to 
find  so  few  works  of  art  on  the  west  coast  of  the  United  States, 
particularly  as  the  largest  concentration  of  Chinese  and  Japanese  people 
outside  of  Asia  lived  here  in  the  San  Francisco  area. 

With  her  strong  desire  to  build  awareness  of  Asian  art  in  northern 
California,  when  she  learned  that  Avery  Brundage  was  contemplating 
finding  a  home  for  his  extensive  collection  of  Chinese,  Japanese,  Indian, 
and  Southeast  Asian  art,  Katherine  conceived  of  the  idea  of  forming  a 
group  of  interested  people  who  would  negotiate  with  Avery  Brundage  in 
order  to  encourage  him  to  give  his  collection  to  the  people  of  San 
Francisco.   It  was  from  this  small  group  that  the  Society  for  Asian  Art 
developed.   With  Katherine  as  a  constant  source  of  support  the  Society 
successfully  persuaded  Avery  Brundage  to  bring  his  collection  to  San 


Katharine  soon  realized  that  very  few  people  knew  anything  about 
Asian  Art  in  the  San  Francisco  Bay  area,  so  she  conceived  the  idea  that 
the  Society  could  provide  an  educational  source  by  training  docents  to 
tell  the  public  about  the  works  of  art.  The  result  was  the  docent 
program  that  was  developed  with  Katharine's  encouragement  and  which 
becane  the  prototype  that  has  been  emulated  by  museums  and  galleries 
throughout  the  world.  Rather ine  is  still  an  active  member  of  the  Society 
for  Asian  Art,  and  is  a  source  of  lively  discourse  at  advisory  board 

The  last  few  years  have  been  an  extraordinary  test  of  Katherine's 
stamina.   Beset  by  failing  health,  and  often  frustrated  by  her  increasing 
physical  limitations,  she  has  exhibited  an  indomitable  will  to  continue 
her  work.   Her  interests  are  unflagging.   Upon  returning  from  the 
hospital  recently  she  immediately  went  to  the  symphony,  and  then  she 
visited  the  Asian  Art  Museum.   An  avid  gardener  all  her  life,  she 
continues  to  delight  in  the  passage  of  the  seasons,  so  atuned  to  the 
subtle  changes  that  are  constantly  occurring.   She  has  a  heightened 
awareness  of  nature  and  aesthetics  that  has  grown  from  her  love  of 
J  apane  s  e  cul ture . 

Katherine  Caldwell  is  a  truly  remarkable  woman.   Her  mother's 
daughter,  and  a  mother  herself.   A  woman  of  strong  convictions  about  the 
role  and  place  of  women  in  society  today.  A  woman  who  has  been 
determined  to  uphold  the  right  of  women  to  be  independent.   And  a  woman 
who  has  contributed  immeasurably  to  the  growth  of  Asian  art  in  the  Bay 
Area.  Above  all  Katherine  is  her  own  person,  a  warm  human  being  who  has 
been  an  inspiration  to  me,  and  whose  warm  friendship  I  value  and  enjoy. 

Chrysanthemum  dew-  - 
Just  put  it  in  an  ink-stone 
And  it  comes  to  life 

(Buson,  17 16- 1984 )l 

Mary -Ann  Lutzker,  Ph.D. 

Associate  Professor,  Mills  College 

August  1993  ' 

Oakland,  California 

1This  haiku  addresses  friendship.   Chrysanthemum  Dew,  a  special  wine, 
is  served  at  the  Chrysanthemum  Festival  which  is  held  each  year  on  the 
ninth  day  of  the  ninth  month  in  Japan.   It  is  a  symbol  of  friendship- -both 
the  ink-stone  and  the  chrysanthemum  are  redolent  with  symbolism. 


INTERVIEW  HISTORY- -Katherlne  Field  Caldwell 

In  a  university  community  as  full  of  interesting  people  and  goings- 
on  as  Berkeley,  California  is,  Rather ine  Field  Caldwell  is  a  particularly 
outstanding  member.   Wherever  she  night  have  been  set  down  to  live  her 
full  and  vital  life  she  would  have  been  an  active  participant  in  a 
multiplicity  of  ways:  scholar  working  in  her  chosen  field  of  Asian  art; 
wife  and  mother;  faculty  dinner-party  hostess;  wonderful  friend  and 
mentor;  gadfly  where  the  bite  of  social  conscience  was  needed;  informed 
art -lover  and  concert -goer.  But  by  making  her  home  in  Berkeley  in  19 30-- 
a  return,  because  she  had  lived  in  Berkeley's  complex  community  of  town 
and  gown  in  her  teen-age  years --Katherine  Caldwell  entered  an  arena  truly 
worthy  of  her. 

The  oral  history  memoir  that  follows  is  a  chronicle  of  Katherine 
Caldwell 's  early  years,  her  psychological  and  social  development  and 
expanding  cultural  horizons;  her  marriage  to  James  Caldwell,  professor  of 
English  at  the  University  of  California;  and  her  studies  in  Asian  art, 
and  career  in  that  profession.   The  historian  is  offered  a  unique  look  in 
depth  at  a  span  of  life  that  begins  with  participation  in  the  suffrage 
movement- -Katherine  is  the  daughter  of  suffragist  Sara  Bard  Field  [1882- 
1974] --and  comes  forward  through  the  decades  to  merge  with  the  feminist 
movement . 

The  separation  and  1913  divorce  of  Katherine  Caldwell 's  parents, 
Sara  Bard  Field  and  Albert  Ehrgott  when  she  was  seven  years  old,  the 
death  by  auto  accident  of  her  much -loved  older  brother  Albert  Field 
Ehrgott  when  she  was  twelve  years  old,  catapulted  her  into  adulthood  in 
sudden  and  painful  ways.   But  her  bright  intelligence  gave  her  the 
resources  and  strength  to  fee  an  adult,  albeit  well  before  she  would  have 
chosen.  As  she  said  in  her  Afterword  to  the  Regional  Oral  History 
Office's  interview  with  her  mother,  "While  it  was  difficult  to  grow  up  in 
an  adult  world  where  I  was  expected  to  be  more  or  less  'on  my  own,'  there 
were  considerable  rewards." 

It  would  be  enough  to  provide  the  historian  with  that  span  of  life 
referred  to  above,  but  in  inviting  Katherine  Caldwell  to  be  a  memoirist 
for  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  we  had  in  mind  enriching  the 
archive  of  Bay  Area  cultural  history,  and  opening  inquiry  into  the 
history  of  the  Asian  Art  Museum,  one  of  San  Francisco's  Fine  Arts 
Museums,  and  into  the  teaching  of  Oriental  art  in  the  Bay  Area.  With  her 
strong  academic  background- -Wisconsin,  Radcliffe,  and  Berkeley- -tutelage 
from  Langdon  Warner,  studies  under  Otto  Maenchen,  and  priceless 
acquaintance  through  proximity  with  Oriental  art,  Katherine  Caldwell  had 
found  her  place  by  1950  as  an  expert  in  Asian  art.   She  was  referred  to 
in  the  1971  Mills  Quarterly  as  "the  only  contact  with  Asian  culture  for 
several  generations  of  art  majors." 

But  beyond  that  role,  she  is  one  of  the  founders  and  a  former 
director  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art  in  San  Francisco.   It  was  through 
her  contacts  that  the  Avery  Brundage  collection  of  Asian  art  came  to  San 
Francisco --the  Brundage  Wing  of  the  de Young  Museum  opened  in  1966.   That 
story  is  told  in  the  oral  history.  And  in  her  introduction  to  {Catherine 
Caldwell's  oral  history,  Associate  Professor  Mary-Ann  Lutzger,  friend  and 
fellow  Mills  art  history  faculty,  succinctly  describes  just  how  important 
Katherine  Caldwell- -Professor  Caldwell--was  to  her  and  others  as  scholar 
and  Mentor. 

The  interviews  with  Katherine  Caldwell  took  place  in  the  Caldwell 
home  in  Berkeley,  reached  by  one  of  the  city's  nearly-secret  paths,  Vine 
Lane.   There  she  has  privacy,  trees,  views,  a  garden  deep  below,  and  she 
lives  amidst  dark  and  beautiful  carved  Oriental  furniture,  great 
architectural  vaulted  spaces,  and  framed  lovely  opaque  window  light. 
Kay,  as  1  called  her,  would  always  have  prepared  a  good  cup  of  coffee  for 
me  when  I  arrived  for  our  morning  interviews  in  Fall  1992.   Sometimes  she 
would  join  with  a  cup  for  herself,  but  as  often  not.   She  was  suffering 
from  poor  health  throughout  the  interviews --some  days  were  good,  some 
were  very  bad,  and  we  had  to  cancel  interviews  occasionally.  The  pain 
was  such  that  it  distracted  her,  she  felt,  from  offering  further  text  on 
some  points.  At  her  best,  that  would  never  have  happened,  and  she  always 
wished,  of  course,  to  be  at  her  best. 

However,  when  Kay  knew  that  she  was  not  doing  what  she  wanted,  not 
getting  the  story  told,  then  she  would  request  that  we  go  back  over  some 
parts  already  told,  of  the  early  years,  and  flesh  out,  or  retell,  or  fill 
in  facts.   It  is  for  that  reason  that  there  is  no  tape  guide  to  the 
interviews.   Sessions  were  often  edited  into  earlier  sessions.  When  Kay 
received  the  final  document  for  her  editing,  again  she  had  been  so  ill  as 
to  require  hospitalization,  but  she  made  a  valiant  effort  to  review  the 
mass  of  transcript,  and  made  accurate  and  important  corrections. 

The  illustrations  for  the  oral  history  come  from  a  quite  remarkable 
store  of  photographs,  taken  by  excellent  Bay  Area  photographers.  At  the 
time  of  doing  the  oral  history,  Kay's  reserves  of  strength  were  also 
being  put  to  the  task  of  assigning  a  future  to  her  wonderful  objects  of 
art,  many  inherited  from  her  mother  and  her  stepfather,  Charles  Erskine 
Scott  Wood,  including  furniture  and  rugs.   She  was  also  having  made 
archivally-permanent  a  group  of  early  Ansel  Adams  photographs,  taken  of 
her  wedding  to  Jim  Caldwell.  One  is  among  the  photographic  illustrations 

to  the  oral  history. 


The  appendices  to  the  oral  history  include  Afterword  by  Katherine 
Caldwell,  written  in  1979,  a  passionate  statement  of  a  woman's 
recollection  of  her  relationship  with  her  family,  in  particular  her 
mother.  The  reader  of  the  oral  history  will  be  aware  of  the  presence, 
sometimes  more,  sometimes  less,  of  Sara  Bard  Field  throughout.  The 


Regional  Oral  History  Office's  interview  with  Field,  Poet  and  Suffragist. 
cane  out  in  1979,  one  of  the  Suffragists  Oral  History  Project  series. 
That  interview,  forty-six  sessions  recorded  between  1959  and  1963,  was 
one  of  earliest  undertaken  by  the  oral  history  office,  and  was  a  landaark 
compendium.   Rather ine  Caldwell's  memoir,  Family  and  Berkeley  Memories, 
and  the  Study  and  Profession  of  Asian  Art,  stands  quite  on  its  own,  a 
story  of  a  new  generation,  a  new  time,  but  behind  her  looms  a  large 
figure,  and  the  reader  is  referred  to  the  Field  text  for  more  on  the  San 
Francisco  of  the  1920s. 

Readers  are  also  referred  to  oral  histories  completed  on  University 
of  California  history,  and  on  the  arts  and  social  history.   In 
particular,  see  Benjamin  Lehman,  Josephine  Miles  and  George  Stewart, 
English  department;  art  department,  Stephen  C.  Pepper;  philosophy,  Will 
Dennes;  Berkeley  history,  Ella  Barrows  Hagar,  Bernice  Hubbard  May;  the 
arts,  Ansel  Adams,  Ruth  Cravath,  Dorothea  Lange ,  Elsie  Whitaker  Martinez, 
Kathleen  Norris,  Grace  McCann  Morley,  Rudolph  Schaeffer,  Helen  Arnstein 

James  R.  K.  Kantor,  University  Archivist  Emeritus,  recognizing  the 
exceptional  story  Katherine  Caldwell  had  to  tell,  the  richness  of  the 
cultural  life  she  had  witnessed  and  to  which  she  had  so  greatly 
contributed,  spearheaded  the  project.  The  Regional  Oral  History  Office 
thanks  him,  as  it  has  so  often  in  the  past,  for  his  support,  and  his  as 
always  excellent  proofreading  skills.   My  thanks  to  Kay  for  her  hard 
work—going  back  in  time  isn't  easy- -and  a  friendship  gained  in  the 
interviews.  And  the  text  is  enriched  by  Mary- Ann  Lutzger's  introduction, 
turning  back  the  pages  of  history  and  telling  her  story  of  Katherine 

The  Regional  Oral  History  Office  is  under  the  direction  of  Willa  K. 
Baum,  and  is  an  administrative  division  of  The  Bancroft  Library  of  the 
University  of  California,  Berkeley. 

Suzanne  B.  Riess 

October  1,  1993 

The  Regional  Oral  History  office 

The  Bancroft  Library 

University  of  California,  Berkeley 


Regional  Oral  History  Office 
Room  486  The  Bancroft  Library 

University  of  California 
Berkeley,  California  94720 

(Please  write  clearly.   Use  black  ink.) 
Your  full  name  %**>  T  u£  A  <•  »s»=r     \-Aj_T)  i^fi.  *- 

Date  of  birth  V////  01 

Birthplace  £-/tiKjt**t  , 

Father's  full  name    A±  Rif*  r 


Mother's  full  name 
Occupation  fr  «»cf 

f?,A  &.?,  fffj.o 


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Your  children        5A-ft% 

OV     C  AJ.  O^r 

where  did  you  grow  up?   (L 
Present  community OcjA&w 

Educ  a  t  i  on 

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f,~  -i 

Areas  of  expertise 

Other  interests  or  activities 

Organizations  in  which  you  are  active 



Rav' *  Parents  Separate 

Caldwell:   I  think  this  oral  history  should  begin  with  what  was  the  most 
traumatic  event  of  my  life,  and  that  was  when  my  mother 
announced  to  me  that  she  was  going  to  leave  my  father.   I  was 
six  years  old  and  unsuspecting  of  any  discord  between  them.   So 
when  she  said,  "Kay,  I'm  going  to  leave  your  father,  do  you  want 
to  stay  with  him  or  come  with  me?"  I  was  absolutely  stunned.   I 
couldn't  believe  it.   And  of  course,  in  those  days 
people --nobody  got  a  divorce,  so  to  speak.   It  was  unthinkable. 
I  hadn't  really  known  about  husbands  and  wives  separating. 

I  loved  both  my  mother  and  my  father,  but  like  most 
children  I  was  closer  to  my  mother,  and  so  I  opted  to  go  with 
her.   But  the  fact  I  had  to  make  such  a  crucial  decision  has 
stayed  with  me  all  my  life,  and  for  that  reason  I  feel  that 
starting  this  oral  history  with  that  event  is  of  importance. 

Also,  having  to  make  that  decision  I  think  has  made  it  very 
hard  for  me  to  make  decisions  all  the  rest  of  my  life.   I  can 
remember  going  into  a  library  with  my  mother  when  I  was  very 
small  and  seeing  all  the  books  and  almost  crying  with  the 
thought  that  I  would  never  be  able  to  read  all  those  books.   How 
could  I  decide?  And  that  is  still  with  me,  right  to  this 
moment . 

Riess:     Do  you  think  you  believed  that  she  would  really  go  away? 

Caldwell:   I  knew  she  was  going  away.   But  she  was  away  so  much,  you  see, 
so  going  away-- [laughs] .   And  I  hadn't  thought  of  it  until  this 
moment,  but  that  may  have  greatly  influenced  my  decision  to  go 
with  her. 

It  was  a  very,  very  hard  decision.  And  I  liked  things  as 
they  were.  Most  children  do  prefer  what  they're  accustomed  to. 
I  thought  a  moment,  and  I  said,  "Oh,  I'll  go  with  you."  And 
that  was  that.   I  don't  remember  any  subsequent  conversation 
about  it.  And  I  can't  remember --maybe  I  was  traumatized  to  such 
a  point  that  I  blot  out  the  specific  memories  of  immediately 
what  happened  afterwards.   I  have  no  memory  whatsoever,  except 
that  event  stands  out  in  my  mind,  as  a  shattering  decision. 

Riess:  There  was  not  a  family  council? 

Caldwell:  No,  no,  not  at  all. 

Riess:  Just  between  the  two  of  you. 

Caldwell:  Yes. 

My  mother  used  to  tell  me  later  about  how  disapproving  she 
was  of  my  father's  disciplining  of  my  brother,  and  her 
remonstrance .   For  example ,  when  my  brother  almost  set  the  place 
on  fire,  my  father  1  think  put  something  hot  on  him.   Not  to 
burn  him,  but  to  give  him  an  idea  of  how  severe  a  situation  it 
might  produce.   But  I  don't  ever  remember  my  mother  and  father 
quarreling.   Now,  this  may  just  have  been  that  they  secluded 
themselves  in  another  room  when  they  had  their  differences,  I 
don't  know.   I  have  no  remembrance  whatsoever. 

I  also  was  very  much  impressed  with  my  mother's  absences. 
Riess:     I  wonder  if  you  thought  that  after  a  while  she'd  come  back. 

Caldwell:   No.   I  knew  it  was  final.   I  sensed  it.   This  was  the  real, 

final  parting.   How  I  knew  that,  I  don't  know,  but  I  did.   I  had 
no  doubt.   It  was  a  frightful,  frightful  anguish,  a  very  great 
anguish.   I  can  feel  to  this  day  how  I  felt  at  that  moment.   I 
also  knew  I  couldn't  do  anything  about  it,  had  to  face  up  to  it. 
I  have  lots  of  faults,  but  apparently  my  strength  of  character 
stood  by  me  [laughs] --was  developed  at  that  point. 

Riess:     You  knew  you  couldn't  do  anything  about  your  mother  and  father. 

Caldwell:  No.   I  suppose  most  children  realize  that  they  can't  really 
influence  them  in  grave  decisions.   But  I  realized  it  was  an 
irreversible  situation;  I  sensed  it  was  irreversible.   No  use  to 
plead,  "Oh,  do  stay  home,"  or  something  like  that.   It  never 
occurred  to  me  to  beg  her  to  stay. 


Did  you  earlier? 

Caldwell:  No,  I  only  remember  wishing  she  were  there  more.   I  don't 

remember  thinking,  "Isn't  it  awful  that  she's  not,"  or  "Why 
doesn't  she?"  I  only  remember  having  a  great  sense  of  emptiness 
and  wishing,  but  never--!  don't  remember  censoring  her  ever. 

My  mother  wrote  a  poem  at  some  point- -it  wasn't 
published- -that  I  came  across.   My  daughter  and  I  were  looking 
at  it  the  other  day.   It  was  called,  "To  A  Sad  Child."  And  it 
was  about  controlling  my  tears,  holding  them  back,  and  that  kind 
of  thing.   But  I  don't  remember  feeling  sorry  for  myself  at  all. 
This  was  the  way  it  was. 

Riess:     Veil,  these  are  strengths  of  character,  aren't  they? 

Caldwell:   I  never  thought  until  this  moment  that  it  was  a  strength  of 

character- -at  the  moment  of  decision,  of  going  with  her.   But  it 
was  a  very  great  wrench,  because  I  was  very  fond  of  my  father 
and  brother,  too. 

Riess:     Now,  this  separation  from  your  father,  she  had  met  the  Colonel 
by  then? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes,  but  I  didn't  know  anything  about  that,  I  hadn't  the 
faintest  idea.   Well,  I  had  met  him  once  when  I  was  a  little 
girl,  and  he  came  to  the  house.   I  was  four.   I  was  out  in  the 
potato  patch  next  to  the  house,  and  it  was  the  first  time  I  ever 
saw  a  car,  a  motor  vehicle  —  a  private  car.   He  was  driven  up.   I 
had  no  idea  who  he  was,  that  he  had  any  relationship  to  my 
mother  other  than  any  other  friend.   I  was  completely  ignorant 
of  this.   I  hadn't  the  faintest  idea  why  she  was  leaving  my 

Earlier  Memories  of  Absences  and  Returns 



When  are  some  of  your  earlier  memories? 
Cleveland  in  1906. 

You  were  born  in 

Oh,  I  have  a  few  memories,  but  they're  not  of  any  importance.   I 
remember  that  we  lived  in  a  house  that  had  an  old  streetcar 
abandoned  in  the  backyard  we  used  to  play  in.  And  my  brother 
Albert  was  a  great  tease ,  but  he  always  had  a  kind  of  paternal 
attitude  toward  me,  which  was  well -emphasized  later  on  in  life. 

I  can  remember  his  taking  me  out  on  a  sled  in  the  snow. 
And  I  can  remember  a  dog  that  we  had.  And  I  can  remember  my 
sense  of  guilt,  which  is  very  strong  to  this  day,  always  feeling 

I'm  doing  the  wrong  thing,  or  often,  because  of  a  little  girl 
who  was  brought  to  visit  who  couldn't  crawl  up  the  stairs,  and  I 
didn't  want  her  to  play  with  my  favorite  toy,  which  I  put  out  of 
her  reach.   I  was  very  severely  lectured  to  about  my 
selfishness . 

Another  early  memory:  I  had  adenoids,  and  because  I  snored 
I  was  disturbing  the  sleep  of  my  family  and  put  out  in  the  hall 
to  sleep.   I  have  that  sense  of  guilt  for  those  two  things  which 
has  never  left  me.   I  have  never  forgotten  those.  Those  are  my 
memories  of  Cleveland.  And  the  snow,  1  do  remember  the  snow. 

When  my  parents  moved  from  Cleveland  to  Portland,  Oregon, 
they  must  have  been  very  anxious  themselves.   I  wasn't  yet 
four- -I  had  my  fourth  birthday  in  Portland- -and  I  ran  around 
saying,  "Have  you  got  the  tickets?  Have  you  got  the  keys?" 
Well,  now  a  child  of  three  couldn't  think  this,  it  had  to  have 
been  transferred,  that  anxiety. 

I  have  been  an  anxious  person  all  of  my  life.   I  am  not 
blaming  anyone,  heaven  knows.   This  is  the  way  it  was.   But  I 
attribute  my  anxiety  to  this.   I  don't  know. 

Riess:     It  was  not  a  good  move  for  your  family? 

Caldwell:   Well,  any  move  for  a  small  child  is  something  that  is  stressful. 

Riess:     But  I  mean,  you  were  taking  on  their  anxiety? 

Caldwell:   I  think  so.   This  is  just  a  guess,  you  know.   After  all,  I  was 
only  three. 

I  have  no  other  memories  of  Cleveland  except  the  fact  that 
we  had  steep  steps  going  up  to  the  house,  and  as  I  mentioned, 
the  abandoned  streetcar,  and  that  was  a  great  plus  for  my 
brother,  because  his  friends  all  loved  to  come  and  play  there. 

Riess:     Tell  me  about  the  memories  of  Portland. 

Caldwell:   In  Portland  my  father,  as  he  always  did,  managed,  for  all  of  his 
small  income,  to  find  a  very  nice  house.   It  was  a  large  house, 
with  four  bedrooms,  and  it  had  a  huge  empty  lot  next  to  it  that 
I  don't  think  belonged  to  my  father,  but  it  had  potatoes  planted 
in  it. 

I  remember  lots  of  playing  with  my  brother,  and  my  mother 
always  leaving  the  house.   I  did  have  a  sense  of  wishing  to  see 
her,  and  that  she  were  home  more.  But  I  wasn't  criticizing  her 
for  this.   It  just  was  a  kind  of  longing. 

Caldwell:   One  early  memory,  from  when  I  was  four  years  old,  was  very 

influential  on  the  rest  of  my  life.   [laughter]   I  mean,  it  was 
in  a  way  another  awful  decision  to  have  had  to  make. 

Christmas  was  approaching,  and  my  father,  a  clergyman, 
said,  "We  must  send  a  barrel  of  presents  to  the  missionaries  in 
Burma.   They're  very  poor,  and  they  have  very  little  in  their 
lives.   Now  Katherine,  you  go  and  get  a  toy."   So  I  went  and  got 
a  battered  toy. 

My  father  said,  "Oh,  no.   Not  something  like  that. 
Something  that  you  are  fond  of."  Whereupon,  tears  streaming 
down  my  face,  1  got  my  favorite  teddy  bear,  and  gave  it.   It  was 
a  bear  that  was  such  a  support  in  my  life,  psychologically,  that 
it  was  a  very,  very  great  sacrifice  for  me  to  make. 

My  children  always  were  very  impressed  with  this  story,  and 
it  became  sort  of  a  custom  to  give  Mother  a  teddy  bear  for  a 
birthday,  or  for  going  off  for  a  trip  or  something  like  that. 
And  my  son  gave  me  a  bear  when  he  left  for  college,  to  hug. 

Riess:     And  when  you  were  four,  you  think  you  were  already  needing  a  lot 
of  support? 

Caldwell:   I  never  sensed  the  tension  between  my  mother  and  father,  but  my 
mother  was  home  very  little,  and  I  think  that  may  have  been  it. 
She  was  always  leaving  for  her  suffrage  work.   And  of  course,  as 
I  mentioned  in  the  "Afterword"  to  my  mother's  oral  history, 
being  with  her  was  such  a  shining  experience.   So  her  absence 
was  a  great  contrast  to  the  joy  we  had  in  her  companionship. 

My  brother  and  I- -there  are  such  small,  rather  trivial 
memories  then,  you  know.   You  see,  it  was  not  very  long  after 
this  that  my  mother  left  my  father.   But  one  nice  motherly  thing 
I  remember  about  my  mother,  on  Sunday  evenings  she  was  home  with 
us—usually  she  did  reserve  Sunday  night  for  us- -and  we  had 
Triscuits,  which  still  exist  in  the  stores  to  this  day.   I  have 
them  right  in  my  kitchen  right  now. 

She  would  butter  the  Triscuits  and  toast  them.   We  had 
those  and  hot  chocolate  Sunday  evenings.   That  was  time  that  she 
would  be  with  us.   Otherwise,  she  was  always  with  other  people. 
And  once  in  a  while  she'd  cook  something.  Not  very  often,  but 
she  would  cook  something.   Maybe  she'd  cook  more  often  than  I 

Riess:     Would  she  involve  you  with  that? 

Caldwell:   No,  no,  not  at  all.   But  she  learned  how  to  make  an  apple  pie 
that  was  very  good.  My  brother  always  looked  forward  to  that. 
But  those  were  events.   I  mean,  usually  you  assume  that  your 
mother  is  going  to  be  in  the  kitchen  cooking,  but  for  us  it  was 
kind  of  an  event  for  her  to  be  doing  anything  like  that. 

Riess:     Was  your  father  sort  of  a  darker  personality  than  your  mother? 

Caldwell:   I  was  very  fond  of  my  father,  he  was  very  dear  to  both  my 

brother  and  me,  and  loved  us  dearly.  No,  I  didn't  think  that. 
The  darker  part  of  my  father's  nature  came  out  after  the 
divorce,  and  then  we  were  living  with  him.   And  one  of  the  hard 
things  about  living  with  him  was  not  that  he  wasn't  kind  and 
good  to  us,  but  that  he  never  could  distance  himself  from  the 
anguish  he  felt  and  the  anger. 

He  was  angry  for  several  reasons:  first  of  all,  his  life 
was  shattered  by  my  mother's  leaving  him.   He  greatly  admired 
her,  as  well  as  loved  her.  The  other,  and  I  think  most  galling 
experience  for  him,  was  the  disgrace,  you  see,  from  his  point  of 
view,  that  she  was  suffering  socially  by  the  love  affair  with  a 
married  man.   So  there  was  both  the  anguish  of  losing  her,  and 
the  jealousy- -that's  another  factor,  of  course  —  and  the  sense 
that  her  reputation  was  being  dragged  in  the  dirt. 

All  of  these  things  added  up  to  a  fury  within  him  that 
could  never  be  eliminated.   He  was  focused  on  this,  and  of 
course,  we  were  reminders  of  the  fact  that  his  family  was  broken 
up.   I  don't  mean  for  a  moment  that  he  wasn't  a  kind  and  loving 
father  to  us;  he  was.  But  he  was  obsessed  with  anger  and 

Riess:     You  probably  tried  to  make  up  in  some  way  for  your  mother's 
absence ,  too . 

Caldwell:  Yes.   I  remember  the  first  time  that  I  ever  felt  sorry  for  him, 
had  that  feeling.  He  used  to  sit  at  the  piano  sometimes  in  the 
evening  playing  hymns --in  Berkeley  that  was,  of  course.   There 
was  one  that  the  words  are,  "Earth  hath  no  sorrow  that  Heaven 
cannot  remove."  And  the  tune  to  it  was  very  melancholy.   I 
remember  once  feeling  his  loneliness,  for  a  poignant  moment. 
But  children--!  was  pretty  young,  and  children  don't  really 
understand  the  anguish  of  adults. 

Riess:     No,  adults  want  to  spare  them  that. 

Brother  Albert  and  Life  in  Portland 

Riess:     Let's  step  back  a  bit,  and  talk  about  your  childhood  memories, 
and  your  family  life  then. 

Caldwell:   I  remember  in  Portland  I  went  to  kindergarten  alone  on  the 
streetcar.   In  those  days,  people  didn't--.   I  don't  know 
whether  it  was  just  my  family  or  not,  but  they  certainly  didn't 
take  children  from  place  to  place  the  way  they  do  now.   I  was  on 
my  own. 

Riess:     Your  brother  Albert  preceded  you. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  he  was  five  years  older,  you  see,  so  he  was  in  school. 

Riess:     In  fact,  he  must  have  been  very  much  the  big  brother. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  he  was,  very  much  so.   Of  course,  much  more  so  after  my 
parents  separated. 

I  didn't  know,  of  course,  at  the  time,  even  in  Portland, 
how  different  my  life  was  from  other  children,  who  "came  home  to 
Mother"  and  had  the  family  together,  because  of  my  mother's 
almost  constant  absence.   But  I  think  deep  down  inside  I  felt  a 

I  did  start  school  there,  and  I  remember  I  was  very,  very 
advanced  in  reading,  and  probably  the  slowest  in  arithmetic.   I 
was  conscious  of  that.  And  I  remember  once  being  admonished  by 
the  teacher  for  too  much  pride ,  as  I  mentioned  the  fact  that 
Eugene  Field,  the  poet,  was  a  member  of  the  Field  family,  my 
mother's  family. 

Riess:     When  Sara  was  home,  did  she  take  an  interest  in  your  school 

Caldwell:  No,  I  don't  ever  remember  her  having  any  interest  in  what  we 
were  doing  in  school.  But  she  always  played  with  us,  and  we 
just  had  the  most  glorious  times,  laughter  and  fun.  And  the 
Triscuits.  We  always  looked  forward  to  that. 

There  was  a  friend  of  my  father's,  a  religious  man,  he  used 
to  drop  in  unwanted,  and  we  were  so  afraid  that  he  would  come 
and  intrude  on  our  Sunday  night  gatherings  that  we  turned  all 
the  lights  out  and  went  to  a  room  where  he  couldn't  have  seen 
that  anyone  was  home.   To  be  sure  he --Mr.  Banks,  his  name 
was- -didn't  drop  in  and  spoil  our  little  private  gathering. 

I  don't  ever  remember  wondering  why  my  mother  was  away  and 
other  children's  mothers  were  not.  That  didn't  occur  to  me  even 
to  think  about  that.  And  I  don't  remember  ever  feeling  any 
resentment  whatsoever --this  was  just  the  way  it  was. 

I  remember  coming  home  from  school  and  getting  something  to 
eat,  some  fruit  or  something.  And  I  remember  occasionally 
playing  with  my  brother.  He  devised  a  kind  of  way  of  making 
cigarettes  out  of  crumbling  up  leaves  in  the  garden,  and  smoking 
them.   Then  he  would  get  me  to  promise  I  would  never  tell.   That 
he  held  over  me  for  anything  he  didn't  want  known  about  himself, 
"Don't  you  tell  about  my  cigarettes."  Of  course,  it  was  not 
tobacco  or  anything  at  all  injurious. 

Riess:     Did  you  think  he  really  had  a  strong  rebellious  streak? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no,  I  just  thought  he  was  the  most  wonderful  person,  and 
that  he  was  always  someone  I  felt  was  very  companionable,  in 
spite  of  his  endless  teasing. 

Riess:     He  was  more  conscious,  surely,  of  the  atmosphere  of  the 
household,  being  nine  years  old. 

Caldwell:  We  never  discussed  it.   We  never  talked  about  my  mother  and 

father.  We  always  just  talked  about  my  mother  and  how  wonderful 
it  would  be  to  see  her.  But  we  never  talked  about  relationships 
between  them  at  all. 

Riess:     Did  he  have  more  of  a  life  outside  of  the  house? 
Caldwell:  Oh,  yes.   I  think  he  did.  He  was  off  with  the  boys. 
Riess:     And  was  there  a  housekeeper  in  Portland? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  there  always  was--.  Well,  there  was  someone  who  came 
in  and  did  the  housework  and  cooking,  yes.   I  remember  that.   I 
never  felt  very  close  to  any  of  those  people.   I  never  felt  they 
were  mother  figures  or  anything  of  that  sort. 

Riess:     Were  they  black? 

Caldwell:  No,  white.  I  don't  ever  remember--!  think  the  first  time  I  ever 
saw  a  black  person  was  many  years  later  in  San  Francisco.  1  was 
not  even  conscious  of  racial  differences. 

Riess:     Do  you  think  they  were  chosen  to  be  mother  substitutes? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  not  at  all.  They  were  probably  Irish—I'm  Just  guessing. 

No,  they  were  just  uneducated,  highly  uneducated.   I  sensed  the 

social  difference--!  think  children  do  sense  those  things- -not 
like  their  parents  at  all. 





You  said  you  were  reading  early? 

I  dearly  loved  reading.   That  was 
was  most  entertaining. 

the  part  of  school  I  thought 

My  brother  used  to--.   Half  the  door  of  each  classroom,  the 
upper  part,  was  in  glass,  so  you  could  look  in.  And  he'd  come 
by  and  wave  to  me  or  signal  to  me,  and  then  I'd  make  the  excuse 
to  go  to  the  bathroom,  and  go  out  and  see  him  for  a  moment  or 
so .   So  we  did  have  kind  of  a  comradely  rapport .  And  that  is  a 
vivid  memory  of  that  kind  of  bond. 

My  father  loved  to  celebrate  occasions  like  birthdays  and 
Christmas  very  much.   That  always  was  true.   And  later  on,  in 
Berkeley,  1  was  much  impressed  with  that,  too.   I  don't  mean  to 
say  that  he  wasn't  the  very  kindest- -just  frightfully  wrapped  up 
in  his  church  work.   And  naturally  you  don't  expect  a  father  to 
be  home  in  the  daytime  anyway,  do  you? 

You  were  living  in  a  large  house? 

Oh,  yes,  we  had  a  large  house,  in  I  think  a  nice  part  of 
Portland.   We  always  had  a  nice  house.   Somehow  he  managed  that. 
But  we  lived  very  minimally. 

You  went  on  to  have  a  career  surrounded  by  art  and  visual 
material.   Do  you  remember  beautiful  things  in  your 

Caldwell:  Nothing  in  Portland,  no.  Not  in  Berkeley  either. 

The  first  time  that  I  was  aware  was  after  my  mother  and 
Colonel  Wood  established  the  house  in  San  Francisco,  and  it  was 
full  of  art  treasures.   Before  then  I  never  thought  about  it. 
Art  as  such  didn't  exist  for  me.   My  father  was  very  fond  of 
nature,  so  the  beauty  of  Yosemite  or  something  like  that 
impressed  me.   But  then  that  was  not  unlike  any  child,  going  to 
a  place  of  such  magnificence.   And  that  was  later  on,  after  I 
was  living  with  my  father  after  the  divorce. 


The  Charm  and  Intellect  of  Sara  Bard  Field 

Riess:     When  Sara  left  the  house  to  go  out  in  Portland,  was  there  a 
glamorous  air  to  her? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  1  wouldn't  have  thought  in  those  terms  then.   Later  on,  when 
I  went  with  her  to  Washington  when  I  was  fourteen,  to  the 
Women's  Party,  I  was  very  much  aware  of  her  glamour.  But  then  1 
didn't  think  of  her  in  those  terms.  Later  on  I  realized  that 
she  was  probably  more  attractive  to  men  than  any  woman  I've  ever 
known,  and  1  still  claim  this. 

She  had  a  charm  and  kind  of  appeal .   Whoever  it  was , 
whether  it  was  a  clerk  in  a  store --she  really  looked  at  people 
and  really  gave  herself  over  completely  to  whomever  she  was 
with,  and  that  makes  people  very  happy,  I  think.   "You're  the 
only  one,"  whether  you're  selling  me  gloves  or  whether  you're 
the  head  of  an  organization  or  just  a  friend.   Or  a  child. 

Riess:     And  it  was  genuine. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  it  was  genuine.  My  daughter  feels  that  my  mother 
had- -this,  of  course,  was  a  more  mature,  much  later 
evaluation- -that  my  mother  had  this  great  desire  to  be  liked. 
My  daughter  puts  it  down  to  an  intense  egotism.   But  I  don't  see 
it  quite  so  harshly. 

Riess:     And  was  she  very  feminine? 

Caldwell:   That  impressed  me  when  1  was  fourteen  and  went  East  with  her  to 
Washington,  the  fact  that  she  was  so  intellectual,  so 
articulate,  and  yet  had  such  great  feminine  charm.   When  1  was 
an  adolescent,  and  thought  in  terms  of  male  and  female  charms  or 
lack  thereof,  that  very  much  impressed  me. 

And  as  I  grew  older  1  was  fascinated  by  this  because  of  her 
intellectuality- -she  wasn't  a  woman  who  depended  on  makeup  and 
clothes  and  hairdos.   She  always  looked  perfectly  beautiful,  but 
not  in  a  fashionable  way.   I  don't  remember  her  even- -she'd  love 
to  have  nice  clothes,  but  it  wasn't  an  obsession  with  her. 

She  never  suppressed  her  intellectual  powers  in  order  to 
make  a  man  feel  superior.   1  was  very  much  aware  at  a  certain 
time  in  my  life  that  women  were  supposed- -shouldn' t  win  a  tennis 
game  even  though  they  could,  or  speak  up  in  class,  to  be  more 
bright  than  a  boy.   So  that's  the  reason  I  noticed  this. 


She  also  was  able  to  express  her  own  views  very  clearly. 
I'll  never  forget,  once  in  Chicago  I  went  to  a  luncheon  where 
Clarence  Darrow,  the  famous  lawyer,  was  speaking.   I  never  could 
understand  his  attitude  towards  women,  because  he  was  attracted 
to  intellectual  women,  though  his  own  wife  was  not.   He  talked 
about,  "Why  should  a  man  be  required  to  stay  with  a  woman  after 
he's  impregnated  her  with  a  child?  Animals  don't  do  that."  And 
my  mother  was  furious. 

At  the  question  period  in  this  enormous  lunch  at  this 
enormous  hotel  she  just  took  him  on- -I  can  remember  it 
now- -fiercely.   Flaming  cheeks,  you  know.   I  was  always 
impressed  with  her  utter  fearlessness  to  stand  by  what  she 
believed  in  public.   I  think  maybe  it's  rather  surprising  that  I 
ever  was  able  to  get  up  and  lecture  to  large  groups  of  people, 
but  I  could  do  that  on  my  own  subject.   I  could  never  have  taken 
on,  in  an  adversarial  kind  of  way,  other  people.  Aggressively, 
I  mean. 

Riess:     And  was  she  ever  reduced  to  tears  of  frustration  in  a  situation 
like  that? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  remember  that.   She  would  be  very  angry,  but  no,  I  don't 
think  I  remember  her  weeping. 

Another  time  when  she  was  very  upset  was  when  the  Women's 
Party  was  formed,  and  she  didn't  feel  they  were  taking  a  liberal 
stance.   It  became  the  League  of  Women  Voters,  I  think.   No, 
that  wasn't  it.   But  anyway,  the  successor  to  the  Women's  Party 
she  felt  was  too  conservative.   And  I  remember  how  upset  she  was 
about  that. 

Riess:     And  did  you  find  yourself  being  a  listener  for  her? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  remember.   She  treated  me  as  an  adult,  from  adolescence 
on.   She  made  me  feel  very,  very  much  that  she  cared  about  my 
opinion  about  her  poetry,  and  she  dedicated  her  first  book,  you 
know,  "To  Albert,  who  is  not  here  to  read",  and  "To  Kay,  who  has 
read  and  understood."  And  even  when  I  was  in  college  she  would 
send  me  her  poems  for  my  opinion.   So  I  felt  very,  very  much 
that  she  cared  about  my  opinion  about  her  work.   In  this  sense, 
we  had  a  very  good  interchange.   I  didn't  feel  she  was 
condescending  ever  on  this,  ever. 


Sara  In  Pasadena  Sanitarium.  1913 





Caldwell : 

What  year  did  you  leave  Portland? 

Well,  that  would  then  be  1  guess  1913.  Meanwhile  1  stayed  on 
with  my  father,  and  it  was  then  that  1  went  down  to  stay  with  my 
Aunt  Mary  in  Los  Angeles.   She  took  me  to  visit  my  mother  in  the 

You  came  with  her  when  she  went  to  the  hospital  to  see  whether 
she  had  tuberculosis? 

I  have  no  memory  of  that  whatsoever,  not  any. 
have  happened,  as  far  as  1  remember. 

It  might  never 

I  only  remember—and  that's  why  I  thought,  and  mistakenly, 
I'd  gone  directly  from  Portland  to  Goldfield  after  she  told  me 
she  was  leaving  my  father- -the  only  memory  I  have,  my  contact 
with  her  after  she  then  left,  was  that  I  went  down  to  visit  my 
Aunt  Mary  in  Los  Angeles,  and  I  stayed  with  my  aunt. 

My  aunt  was  in  love  with  Clarence  Darrow,  and  he  came  to 
dinner.   I  had  to  sleep  on  the  floor  in  the  kitchen  while  they 
were  eating.   I  always  apparently  had  trouble  sleeping,  because 
I  kept  being  wakened  by  Clarence  Darrow' s  guffaws,  violent 
shaking  laughter.   I  just  hated  the  man,  because  he  kept  me 
awake.   [laughter]   (I  told  this  story  to  a  man  who  was  writing 
a  book  on  Darrow ,  by  the  way ,  and  on  my  aunt . ) 

I  also  remember  being  interrogated  by  a  truant  officer: 
"Why  was  I  not  in  school?"  And  feeling  quite  nervous  about 
this.   Then  I  remember  going  to  see  my  mother  in  the  sanitarium, 
and  she  has  quite  a  lot  to  say  in  her  diary  about  her  life  then. 

Had  you  known  your  Aunt  Mary  well? 

Yes,  I  had  a  good  rapport  with  her  then,  not  later  on. 

My  Aunt  Mary  was  a  brilliant  woman.   She  never  realized  her 
talents  by  writing  a  book,  but  she  wrote  the  most  extraordinary 
letters  and  was  a  brilliant  journalist.   She  and  my  mother 
always  had  a  kind  of --well,  my  Aunt  Mary  was  rather  jealous  of 
her  sister,  because  her  sister  somehow  made  her  mark  on  the 
world  in  a  way  Mary  did  not.  But  they  were  close,  and  as  time 
went  on  my  aunt  was  very  possessive  of  my  mother.   This  created 
a  little  difficulty. 


In  this  diary  my  mother  wrote  when  she  was  in  the 
sanitarium  she  Just  makes  a  passing- -very  few  references  to  me 
or  my  brother. 

Riess:     This  is  the  diary  that  you've  just  recently  found? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   This  is  in  1913.   Las  Encinas  is  the  name  of  this  hospital 
in  Pasadena.   She  says --it's  a  little  hard  to  read,  it's  sort  of 
bleached  out  green  ink- -"The  child" --meaning  me- -"is  a  marvel  of 
tender  sympathy  and  passionate  affection.   Poor  little  soul! 
The  world  holds  much  suffering  for  her." 

"And  then  we  joined  Thelma  for  lunch,"  she  goes  right  on, 
you  see.   [laughter]   That  fascinated  me. 

And  then  here's,  "Kay  overheard  Mary"- -that's  her  sister 
Mary- -"speaking  about  Mr.  Somebody -or -other  going  to  prison. 
She  asked  the  cause,  and  Mary  told  her  it  was  because  Mr.  T.  had 
cared  for  the  poor  people.   'Well,  I'd  better  look  out,'  said 
Kay,  'I  gave  a  doll  to  a  poor  child  last  Christmas.'" 

I  went  through  her  diary  to  see  her  references  to  my 
brother  and  me.   They  were  very  few. 

Riess:     How  long  were  you  visiting  down  there? 

Caldwell:   This  I  can't  figure  out.   I  had  thought  it  was  just  an 

occasional  weekend,  but  Mother  says  in  her  oral  history  that  I 
went  down  to  stay  with  my  aunt.   I  can't  think  that  my  father 
would  have  allowed  me  to  stay  down  there  very  long. 

Riess:     Because  he  would  have  disapproved? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  and  also  my  schooling. 

Riess:     And  you  didn't  enter  school  down  there? 

Caldwell:   No.   I  think  my  mother  exaggerates  the  number  of  times  I  saw  her 
there.   To  tell  you  the  truth,  I  only  remember  going  to  see  her 
once,  but  apparently  I'm  wrong  about  that. 

Riess:     We  know  from  the  oral  history,  from  your  mother  herself,  that 

this  was  not  a  tuberculosis  sanitarium;  it  was  a  sanitarium  for 
people  recovering  from  "nervous  exhaustion."  Do  you  remember 
anything  of  the  actual  place? 

Caldwell:   I  only  remember- -a  frightful  memory- -that  one  of  the  hospital 
workmen,  thinking  he  was  going  to  entertain  this  child,  said, 


"Come  on,  I'll  show  you  something  interesting,"  and  he  took  me 
down  to  look  out  a  window  where  a  chicken  had  just  had  its  head 
cut  off,  and  it  was  running  around  headless.   It  shocked  me 
deeply.   I've  never  gotten  over  that,  really.  That's  the  only 
memory  I  have.   That,  and  Darrow  keeping  me  awake  at  night,  and 
the  truant  officer. 

Riess:     Was  your  mother  always  a  diarist? 

Caldwell:   No.   She  says  here  in  the  beginning  of  this  one  something  about 
it  being  unlike  her  to  keep  a  diary.  And  I  was  interested  in 
that.   [reading]   "It  is  years  since  I've  kept  a  diary.  This,  I 
feel,  will  be  merely  'kept'  and  rust  out  rather  than  wear  out." 
That's  the  way  she  starts  this  out.   That's  the  first  of 
January,  1913. 

It's  a  very  interesting  book,  though,  because  although  she 
is  ill  she  makes  many,  many  references  to  literature  and  what 
she's  reading.   I  was  interested  in  it  because  my  brother  and  I 
seemed  such  incidental  episodes  to  her  life  at  that  time. 

Riess:     Was  your  brother  also  visiting  periodically? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  remember,  and  I  don't  ever  remember  going  with  him.   I 
don't  remember  seeing  him  there  at  all;  I  may  have  and  have 
forgotten  about  that. 

Riess:     Does  she  make  any  references  that  clarify  what  kind  of  treatment 
she  was  getting? 

Caldwell:   I  haven't  made  note  of  these,  so  I  couldn't  say.   I  haven't  made 
note  of  anything  in  this  particular  diary  except  references  to 
myself  and  my  brother. 

[reading]   Oh,  yes,  apropos  of  leaving,  on  the  21st  of  May 
she  says,  "Left  this  morning  for  Goldfield. . . I  wrote  Albert  on 
the  train  telling  him  the  purpose  of  my  changed  situation—poor 
Albert."  That  is,  however,  my  father,  not  my  brother.   But 
there  is  a  reference  to  my  brother  and  how  manly  he  is ,  and  how 
well  he  understood  the  situation,  unlike  his  sister  who  didn't. 
"Little  Kay  is,  of  course,  too  small  to  understand." 

Riess:     Are  there  references  to  doctors  or  treatment  or  getting  well? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  there  are  references  there  where  she  wonders  whether  she 
has  tuberculosis  or  not,  and  there  is  a  reference,  in  fact, 
similar  to  what  you  read  in  the  oral  history,  to  the  strain. 
Something  seemed  to  be  on  her  mind. 




I'm  sorry  I  didn't  have  a  chance  to  read  this  through 
again,  I  was  just  thinking  in  terms  of  my  relationship  to  her. 
But  I  think  she's  probably  recounted  that  pretty  accurately. 
The  excuse  I  always  heard,  and  this  I  heard  when  I  was  quite 
young,  was  that  maybe  the  possibility  of  tuberculosis  was  just 
an  excuse  for  getting  her  out  of  Portland.   In  those  days, 
people  didn't  talk  about  nervous  breakdowns,  you  know.  Those 
were  hush-hush.   Even  later  on,  when  she  did  have  one,  years 

So  it  might  have  been  arranged  by  Pops  [Charles  Erskine  Scott 
Wood] . 

Yes,  he  financed  it,  you  see.   My  father  certainly  couldn't 
afford  to  do  that. 

Riess:     And  Darrow's  part?  Since  it  was  on  Darrow's  recommendation  that 
she  go  to  Goldfield  rather  than  Reno,  according  to  Sara's  oral 
history,  are  there  any  references  to  conversations  about  that? 

Caldwell:   I'll  have  to  go  through  it  more  carefully.   I  haven't  read  it 
with  that  care. 

Goldfield:  A  Nevada  Divorce.  Malaria 

Riess:     When  she  headed  to  Goldfield,  you  had  packed  all  of  your 

belongings?  Did  you  come  then  down  on  the  train  by  yourself? 

Caldwell:   No,  no.   I  never  traveled  alone  at  that  time.  I  traveled  on  a 

train  by  myself  when  I  was  four  up  to  Seattle  to  visit  my  Aunt 

Marion,  but  after  that,  I  didn't  travel  alone  from  one  city  to 

Riess:     Do  you  remember  getting  yourself  organized  to  leave  Portland? 

Caldwell:  No,  not  at  all.  Nothing.   I  don't  remember  it  at  all.   I 

remember  the  arrival  in  Goldfield,  and  the  house  we  had,  but  I 
don't  remember  any  of  the  travel  arrangements. 

Mother  rented  a  house  in  Goldfield. 

Riess:     Tell  about  Goldfield. 

Caldwell:   I  didn't  like  it.   It  was  very  dry  and  forbidding--!  wouldn't 
have  been  able  to  use  the  word  forbidding  at  that  time.   We 
lived  right  across  the  street  from  the  only  bit  of  greenery, 


green  grass,  in  Goldfield.   The  house  there  was  owned  by  the 
owner  of  the  gold  mine.   But  we  had  a  dreary  little  house. 

Riess:     Vas  the  dreariness  of  it  compensated  for  by  the  fact  that  you 
were  at  last  with  this  mother  you  missed  so  much? 

Caldwell:  No.   I  don't  think  so.   1  think  the  fact  that  she  was  still 
occupied  with  other  concerns  repeated  the  pattern.   1  hadn't 
thought  of  that  until  now,  but  I  think  it  repeated  the  pattern 
of  her  not  being  there,  although  she  did  a  great  deal  of  writing 
at  her  typewriter  at  home. 

1  know  the  school  seemed  to  me  very  difficult  to  have  to 
adjust  to.   Looking  back  on  it,  it  seemed  to  me  a  dreadful 
school.   It  was  right  opposite  the  courthouse.   The  teacher's 
method  of  disciplining  the  bad  children  was  to  say,  "Well,  I'll 
take  you  across  to  the  police  if  you  don't--"  She  didn't  say 
that  to  me.   I  was  all  too  good  a  child,  you  know.   [laughs] 

I  remember  one  child  who  wanted  to  go  to  the  bathroom,  and 
she  didn't  let  him  go,  and  he  urinated  in  front  of  the  class. 
He  couldn't  help  it.  And  I  remember  how  embarrassed  we  all 
were,  and  how  distressed  the  teacher  was.   But  anyway,  these  are 
minor  things. 

Riess:     So  your  days  were  mostly  taken  up  with  school. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  pretty  much  so.   I  had  one  friend  who  I  realized  in  later 
life  was  a  daughter  of  a  prostitute.   She  used  to  do  all  kinds 
of  dances,  shouting,  "Red  light,  red  light!"  I  had  no  idea  the 
significance  of  the  dances  or  what  she  was  saying.   And  I 
remember  calling  on  a  child  with  my  mother  who  was  so  poor  that 
they  had  a  dirt  floor,  and  our  taking  food  to  them  there.  These 
are  fragmentary  memories.   I  remember  gypsies  coming  through  the 

But  mostly,  as  far  as  my  relation  to  my  mother  is 
concerned,  I  remember  this  terrible  anxiety  I  had.   She  would 
leave  in  the  evening  and  not  tell  me.   She  didn't  think  that  I 
had  any- -she  wouldn't  have  said  "any  business  to  know,"  but  that 
was  really  the  idea,  her  life  was  as  she  was  to  live  it.   So  I 
would  listen  to  her  typewriter  to  hear  whether  it  was  being  used 
or  not. 

And  then  I  also  described  in  the  oral  history  "Afterword" 
one  time  I  couldn't  stand  it  any  longer,  being  alone.   I  got  up 
and  went  to  a  neighbor's  house  in  the  middle  of  the  night.   She 
came  home,  of  course,  and  I  was  gone.   And  she  was  very,  very 
severe  about  scolding  me  about  having  done  this.   I  don't  blame 


her  for  that,  but  still,  I  was  really  finding  it  very  difficult 
to  be  alone  in  the  wee  hours  of  the  morning. 

Riess.     Do  you  think  people  in  Goldfield  understood  what  a  single  woman 
and  her  daughter  were  doing  there? 

Caldwell:   1  don't  know.   1  have  a  feeling  that  they  were  nice  to  me,  but  1 
don't  remember  who  they  were,  what  they  looked  like.  Just  that 
I  needed  refuge,  with  people. 

My  mother  always  took  me  to  the  hotel  for  lunch  on  Sundays , 
and  when  we  were  together  she  was  playful  and  acted  warmly.   She 
would  buy  me  grape  Juice  when  she  had  a  glass  of  wine.   She'd 
make  me  feel  grown  up. 

And  my  Aunt  Mary  came  to  visit  us  while  she  was  there. 
That  was  when  I  grew  to  hostility  toward  my  Aunt  Mary,  though. 
She  was  a  very  difficult  woman.   We  all  found  her  very 
difficult.   As  I  grew  older  I  realized  that  this  was  something 
shared  by  a  great  many  people .   But  at  the  same  time ,  she  was 
brilliant,  and  1  just  loved  her  husband.   1  thought  he  was  one 
of  the- -I  still  think  he  was  one  of  the  nicest  men  I  ever  knew 
in  my  whole  life,  Lemuel  Parton.   He  was  a  newspaperman. 

Riess:     Did  Colonel  Wood  visit  you  in  Goldfield? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  no,  he  never  came  there.   There  was  this  extraordinary 
mysterious  communication,  a  code  they  devised  for  telegrams. 

I  forgot  to  say  in  the  "Afterword"  that  when  I  was  in 
Goldfield  I  came  down  with  malarial  fever.  My  mother  had  to 
take  me  down  on  the  railroad  train  to  Oakland.   They  had  to  wire 
ahead  when  I  was  on  the  train  for  ice ,  because  of  course  there 
was  no  electrical  refrigeration.  My  father,  my  own  father,  met 
us  with  an  ambulance,  and  I  was  taken  to  the  hospital,  where 
Kaiser  Hospital  is  now. 

That  1  should  perhaps  record,  because  again  it's  my 
abandonment  by  my  mama-- [laughs] .   I  lay  in  that  hospital  bed. 
In  those  days,  of  course,  there  was  no  radio,  and  you  had  to  be 
in  the  dark,  so  there  was  no  looking  at  books  or  reading  or 
anything.   I  Just  lay  there,  hour  in  and  hour  out,  by  myself. 

Riess:     How  long  were  you  in  the  hospital? 

Caldwell:   Well,  I  think  1  couldn't  be  accurate  about  that,  but  I  would  say 
a  week  to  ten  days,  maybe  two  weeks--!  really  don't  know. 

Riess:     And  your  mother  had  to  go  back  to  Goldfield? 


Caldwell:   I  don't  know  where  she  stayed  then,  whether  she  stayed  with  my 
aunt  in  San  Francisco  or  what  she  did.   I  don't  know.   She  came 
to  see  me  for  short  times . 

Funny,  I  don't  remember  my  father  coming  to  see  me,  but  he 
must  have  done.   I  remember  his  meeting  us  at  the  pier,  and  I 
can  remember  feeling  some  apprehension  about  the  fact  that  he 
and  my  mother  were  going  to  meet  again,  because  by  this  time  I 
realized  of  course  that  they  were  not  friends  any  more. 

Riess:     Vere  you  an  unusually  small  child? 

Caldwell:  Veil,  I  only  weighed  something  like  four  pounds  when  I  was  born. 
My  mother  was  told  not  to  eat  much  so  that  the  birth  would  be 
easier.  That's  what  she  told  me,  anyway.  No,  I  don't  think--! 
don't  remember.   I  am  so  short,  but  I  was  taller  than  my 
grandmother,  her  mother.  And  I  never  —  even  to  this  day,  when 
people  mention,  particularly  men,  how  short  I  am,  I  don't  think 
that  I'm  short  at  all.   I'm  just  me.   [laughs] 

Riess:     Your  mother  refers  to  "Little  Kay"  all  the  time. 

Caldwell:   No,  no,  that's  age.   Little  Kay,  as  against  Big  Brother.   No, 
the  Little  Kay  had  nothing  to  do  with  height.   "Dear  Little 
Kay,"  "Poor  Little  Darling,"  you  know.   If  I  had  been  six  feet, 
I  would  have  been  Little  Kay  at  that  time. 

Riess:     [laughs]   I  see. 

When  you  were  out  of  the  hospital  you  were  returned  to 

Caldwell:  Yes.  I'm  surprised  that  my  father  didn't  intervene  about  that, 
but  he  didn't.  I  think  he  was  so  sure  he  would  win  the  divorce 

Riess:     And  that  he  would  win  custody? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   You  see,  the  only  way  my  mother  was  able  to  get  her 

divorce  without  further  contest  on  my  father's  part  was  to  give 
up  my  brother  and  me  to  my  father's  custodianship.   That  was  the 
"deal,"  so  to  speak. 

In  San  Francisco  with  Mary  and  Lemuel  Parton.  1914 


Then  you  returned  to  San  Francisco. 


Caldwell:  Yes,  that's  right.  And  I  lived  at  1623  Lake  Street  in  San 

Francisco  with  my  Aunt  Mary  and  her  husband,  in  a  little  place 
my  aunt  called  The  Flower  Pot,  that's  still  there.   A  little 
tiny  house  with  a  big  garden  in  front. 

My  uncle,  my  aunt's  husband,  was  doing  newspaper  work  for 
the  1915  Panama  Pacific  International  Exposition,  on  the  marina. 
They  built  on  some  filled  land  for  that,  and  the  Palace  of  Fine 
Arts  still  stands.   I  remember  PPIE--I  wondered  why  they  spelled 
pipe  the  wrong  way. 

Riess:     Is  that  why  they  were  up  in  San  Francisco,  because  of  his  work? 
Caldwell:   Lem  Parton  was  on  the  staff  of  the  San  Francisco  Bulletin. 
Riess:     What  are  your  recollections  of  the  Fair? 

Caldwell:   I  remember  being  taken  to  the  art  museum  and  saying  that  when  I 
grew  up  I  was  never  going  to  a  museum.   A  joke,  because  my 
degree  at  Harvard  was  in  museum  work.   There  I  just  remember 
being  very  tired  of  being  dragged  around. 

Since  the  court  awarded  custodianship  of  my  brother  and  me 
to  my  father  I  was  obliged  to  go  to  my  father's  house  in  Alameda 
where  we  lived  for  one  year  before  my  father  got  the  house  here 
in  Berkeley.   I  remember  being  taken  the  night  that  the  lights 
on  the  Tower  of  Jewels,  which  was  a  famous  landmark  for  the 
Fair,  were  turned  out  forever.   My  father  let  me  stay  up,  and  I 
was  with  my  own  father  then. 

Riess:     When  you  were  with  your  Aunt  Mary,  was  your  mother  also  there? 
Caldwell:   No,  she  was  off  doing  suffrage  work.   She  wasn't  there  at  all. 

Riess:     She  recovered  from  this  nervous  breakdown,  tuberculosis,  divorce 
thing,  she  just  snapped  back? 

Caldwell:   That's  right.   She  was  right  back.   She  was  doing  suffrage  work. 
Riess:     Did  she  explain  to  you  the  meaning  of  her  suffrage  work? 

Caldwell:  No,  it  wasn't  until  I  went  East  with  her  when  I  was  fourteen 

that  I  knew  what  it  was  all  about.   That's  another  whole  story 
in  itself. 

But  I  did  want  to  say  that  when  I  was  in  San  Francisco, 
staying  with  my  aunt  and  uncle,  I  went  to  a  public  school  mostly 
patronized  by  children  from  an  orphanage.  My  Aunt  Mary  was 
never  home.   It  seemed  to  be  my  fate  as  a  child  never  to  have 


anybody  home  when  I  came  home  from  school.   She  would  leave  me 
little  notes  and  little  candies  and  so  on,  and  funny  little 
verses .   But  mostly  1  was  on  the  street  playing  with  the 
children  after  school.   That  was,  of  course,  a  help. 

Life  with  Father  in  Alameda.  1915 

Caldwell:  Then  my  father  insisted  that  the  court  order  be  fulfilled,  and 
we  moved  over  to  Alameda  where  he  had  gotten  a  house.   He  had 
the  most  marvelous  housekeeper.   She  was  a  retired  schoolteacher 
from  Honolulu,  and  her  name  was  Percy  Dillon.   I  loved  her 
dearly.   She  was  the  first  person  who  was  there  all  the  time, 
who  was  a  mother  figure.   I  never  thought  of  her  as  a  substitute 
for  my  mother  for  one  minute;  I  always  was  lamenting  my  mother's 
absence . 

My  mother  would  sometimes  be  detained  in  Washington  at 
Christmas,  and  it  was  particularly  upsetting  to  me,  and  I 
remember  my  brother  was  so  marvelous  about  that.   There  are 
letters  that  my  mother  kept  that  he  wrote  to  her,  to  reassure 
her,  "I  will  break  the  news  to  dear  little  Kay."   [laughs] 
Always,  "Poor,  dear  little  Kay." 

Anyway,  Miss  Dillon  wrote  a  letter  to  my  mother,  which  she 
kept,  about  what  charming,  delightful,  intelligent  children  we 
were.   And  we  just  adored  that  woman. 

Another  story- -while  I  was  in  Alameda  my  father  wanted  me 
baptized,  and  in  the  Baptist  Church,  you  know,  you  are  totally 
immersed.   I  had  on  the  most  white  beautiful  clothes, 
embroidered  little  slip,  embroidered  dress,  white  stockings.   I 
remember  I  was  examined,  so  to  speak,  about  what  1  knew  about 
Christianity,  but  I  just  repeated  the  things  I  was  supposed  to 

My  brother,  who  was  a  terrible  trickster,  knew  I  didn't 
know  anything  about  swimming,  and  he  said,  "Now,  when  you're 
under  the  water,  take  a  deep  breath."  And  here  I  was  in  these 
beautiful  clothes  coming  up  coughing,  and  unable  to  do  anything 
but  be  humiliated  by  this!   1  remember  the  baptism  very,  very 
well,  and  the  clergyman  saying,  "Do  you,  Katherine,  take  the 
Lord  Jesus  Christ  as  your  personal  savior?"  And  it  meant 
nothing  to  me  in  terms  of  any  feeling. 

I  never  had  any  religious  feelings  about  Christianity 
whatsoever,  until  later  years  when  music  meant  so  much  to  me. 






Caldwell : 

But  I  wanted  to  have  the  grape  Juice  at  Communion.   I  thought  it 
was  simply  wonderful  to  have  the  grape  juice,  and  that  was 
really  the  reason  why  I  went  through  all  of  this. 

Your  father  didn't  prepare  you  for  this  religious  moment? 

Well,  I  always  deadpanned  with  my  father.   I  didn't  know  that 
term,  that  I  was  taking  an  attitude  of  that  sort,  but  I  remember 
later  on  I  just  couldn't  bear  to  hurt  his  feelings. 

Many  years  later,  when  I  was  about  sixteen,  we  were  camping 
in  the  Big  Sur  down  south  of  Carmel .   Ve  had  gone  in  with  horses 
with  our  supplies,  and  my  precious  dog,  and  we  were  left  there 
with  the  idea  that  we'd  be  called  for  later  with  the  horses 
coming  back.   (We  ran  out  of  food  and  had  to  walk  back.) 

But  I  remember  on  that  trip ,  under  the  skies ,  stars ,  my 
father  said,  "I  hope  that  you'll  never  fail  to  think  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  as  your  personal  savior."  And  1  remember  hating  to 
tell  a  lie,  and  just  saying,  "Mm,"  or  something.  Not  committing 
myself,  but  feeling,  "I  cannot  hurt  his  feelings.   This  is  his 
life,  it  would  break  his  heart."  But  I  also  hated  to  tell  a 
lie,  so  1  just  deadpanned  it. 

I  was  enchanted  to  read  in  the 
you  slept  outside. 

"Afterword"  that  during  summers 

Oh,  yes,  we  slept  on  a  porch.  My  own  father  was  a  great  health 
enthusiast,  and  he  believed  it  was  a  good  idea  to  sleep 
outdoors.   So  when  we  were  over  in  Alameda--we  lived  in  Alameda 
for  one  year  before  my  father  exchanged  his  Portland  house  for 
the  Berkeley  one- -there  was  a  porch  there,  and  our  beds  were  out 
there.  And  we  always  played  games,  word  games,  before  we  went  to 
sleep.  He  [Albert]  was  a  great  trickster  and  very  humorous.   I 
was  sort  of  solemn,  but  he  always  jollied  me  up. 

Why  did  you  leave  Alameda? 

My  father  wanted  very  much  to  have  us  grow  up  in  a  special 
environment,  so  he  found  a  house  in  one  of  the  nicest  parts  of 

What  did  he  mean  by  special? 

Educationally,  and  socially.  He  wanted  us  to  live  in  a 
cultivated,  educational  environment.  And  he  thought  Berkeley 
was  just  the  idea.   How  he  ever  managed  to  exchange  that  house 
in  Portland  for  one  of  the  nicest  parts  of  Berkeley  has  always 
astonished  me.  He  always,  for  all  his  very,  very  limited 


resources,  managed  to  provide  a  very  nice  house,  in  a  "good" 

The  1915  Fair.  The  Suffragists 




Caldwell ; 


Caldwell : 

At  the  Fair  your  mother  was  manning  a  booth  for  the 
Congressional  Union? 

Yes.   And  it  was  from  there  that  she  went  in  '16,  you  see, 
across  the  country  on  that  famous  tour  where  she  accumulated  an 
enormous  number  of  signatures  in  favor  of  the  suffrage 
amendment . 

Chita  Fry  sums  up  the  period  from  1910  to  1920  of  your  mother's 
life  as  occupied  with  suffrage.   Do  you  have  stories  of  these 
individuals,  Alice  Paul,  Emma  Wold,  Anne  Martin,  Mabel  Vernon? 

Anne  Martin  I  knew  somewhat.   Those  women  were  just  very  dear 
friends  of  my  mother's,  and  important  people  in  the  political 
world,  but  I  didn't  know  them  very  well.   Except  Emma  Wold,  I 
knew  her  very  well,  and  loved  her  and  admired  her  greatly. 
Mabel  Vernon' s  personality  is  also  vivid  in  memory. 

Alice  Paul,  of  course,  nobody  knew,  she  was  always  very 
remote.   I  have  a  slight  resentment  towards  Alice  Paul,  because 
my  mother  would  do  anything  that  she  told  her  she  had  to  do  for 
the  suffrage  movement.  When  my  mother  took  that  trip  across  the 
country  in  1916,  I  think  Pops --that  is,  Colonel  Wood- -felt  that 
she  shouldn't  be  subjected  to  such  physical  strain,  lecturing 
from  the  back  of  a  car  and  all  of  that,  for  three  months  going 
across  the  country. 

But  I  don't  remember  the  Fair  in  those  terms,  any 
involvement  of  my  mother,  I  mean,  and  I  only  know  from  reading 
about  the  fact  that  my  mother  took  that  trip  at  that  era.   It 
was  some  years  later,  in  February  1921,  that  1  went  East  with  my 

Do  you  remember  your  mother  speaking  at  the  [Warren  K. ]  Billings 

Billings?  1  just  remember  he  was  in  jail  as  a  conscientious 
objector.   I  remember  seeing  him  and  being  impressed  with  the 
fact  that  I  was  having  dinner  with  somebody  who  had  been  in 
prison.   I  think  later  Billings  became  a  lover- -maybe  even 
husband- -of  some  socially  prominent  woman  in  San  Francisco.   1 


remember  that  he  was  an  attractive  man,  but  that's  not  a  very 
precise  word. 

Berkeley  in  1916:  House.  Playmates  Parks 

Caldwell:   I  have  some  more  thoughts  about  Berkeley,  the  house  there,  and 
the  fire.   I  was  ten  years  old  in  1916  when  we  moved,  and  we 
lived  on  LeRoy  Avenue.  There  was  a  fire  house  right  nearby, 
just  a  few  doors  away,  and  the  firemen  more  or  less  brought  up 
the  neighborhood  children.  They  were  very  interesting  men,  and 
they  were  very  friendly,  and  they  made  us  feel  grown-up,  because 
they  asked  us  how  to  do  algebra  and  things  like  that. 

And  if  you  didn't  have  the  key  to  your  house  they'd  get  a 
ladder  and  put  it  to  the  third  floor  and  go  in  the  window  and 
come  down  and  open  your  front  door.  And  they  also  knitted,  and 
I'd  never  seen  men  knitting.   They  were  just  part  of  a  secure 
factor  in  my  childhood. 

There  was  no  electric  refrigeration,  people  used  ice  boxes, 
and  we  would  be  so  thrilled  when  the  ice  truck  came  by.   while 
the  ice  man  was  delivering  the  ice,  we  would  go  and  get  the 
little  chips  that  were  in  the  inside  of  the  ice  wagon. 

Many  old  Berkeley  houses- -how  old  is  your  house? 
Riess:     It's  about  1920. 

Caldwell:   Well,  then  you  must  have  a  cooler.   You  know  what  a  cooler  is. 

This  house  [3  Vine  Lane]  was  built  in  1926,  and  it  has  a  cooler. 
On  the  north  side  of  the  house  there  would  be  a  cupboard  with  a 
screen  actually  on  the  outside,  and  that's  where  you'd  keep 
things  cool.   That  made  a  great  impression  on  me. 

And  then  I  took  piano  lessons  in  the  most  beautiful  Maybeck 
house .   Maybeck  was  not  well  known  at  that  time .   He  became  very 
famous  later.   The  house  burned  in  the  '23  fire  but  was 
reproduced  identically,  because  the  blueprints  were  in  San 
Francisco.   I  used  to  walk  down- -it  was  only  a  block  from  where 
I  lived- -and  it  made  a  great  impression  on  me.   My  teacher  was  a 
warm,  kind  woman,  Alma  Schmidt -Kennedy,  rather  large-busted,  and 
friendly,  and  she  had  a  beautiful  studio,  still  to  be  seen 
because  it  was  reproduced. 

Riess:     Where  is  that? 


Caldwell:   It's  right  on  the  corner  of  Buena  Vista  and  Euclid,  a  beautiful 
place.  She  had  two  grand  pianos,  and  she  made  every  child  come 
and  wash  their  hands  first  before  they  could  touch  her  pianos. 
She  made  everyone  feel  that  he  or  she  was  just  wanted  and  loved, 
and  I  looked  forward  to  going  there  very,  very  much.   I  was  not 
at  all  musical,  except  as  an  appreciator.   It  was  caring  of  my 
father  that  he  would  spend  the  money  on  those  lessons,  and  on 
getting  my  teeth  straightened.   Like  my  mother,  I  had  a  very 
narrow  jaw.  He  showed  his  fatherly  concern,  culturally  and 

In  retrospect,  I  appreciate  his  having  done  those  things 
very,  very  much,  and  didn't  realize  in  my  mature  life  I'd  be 
going  back  to  that  same --in  a  sense  that  same  building,  even 
though  it's  a  reproduction- -to  the  house  now  owned  by  a  man 
who's  a  jazz  pianist,  but  who  has  classical  programs  as  well. 
Anyway,  Mrs.  Kennedy  was  a  great  influence  in  my  life. 

The  district,  as  far  as  schools  were  concerned,  had  fixed 
boundaries,  so  that  all  of  my  playmates  went  to  a  different 
school  than  I  did,  because  my  house  was  right  on  the  dividing 
line.   I  had  to  walk  many,  many  blocks  over  to  Oxford  School, 
Oxford  Street,  while  my  playmates  went  right  down  the  hill  to 
the  Hillside  School.   And  that  was  very,  very  hard  for  me  not  to 
be  sharing  those  same  experiences. 

Riess :     These  are  the  playmates  you  would  have  fun  in  the  afternoon 
with,  at  the  firehouse? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  that's  true,  exactly.   I  loved  walking  by  the  reservoir, 

which  is  still  there  on  Euclid  Avenue.   At  that  time  it  was  not 
enclosed.   It  later  had  a  very  ugly  wooden  roof  put  on  it. 
Earlier  it  was  like  a  beautiful  lake,  and  the  caretaker  spent, 
as  it  seemed  to  me,  all  of  his  days  in  a  rowboat.   I  thought 
when  I  grew  up  I  wanted  to  be  a  caretaker  of  a  reservoir  and 
spend  my  days  just  rowing  around  in  a  boat. 

Riess:     Having  lived  on  LeRoy,  I'm  sure  that  when  you  talk  about 

Berkeley,  memories  of  Berkeley,  you  have  memories  of  the  Temple 
of  the  Wings. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  I  do.   That  was  very  funny,  because  we  went  to  school 
with  some  of  the  Boynton  children,  and  they  were  vegetarians. 
They  were  always  trying  to  exchange  their  peanut  butter 
sandwiches  for  our  roast  beef  ones.   [laughs]   But  I  don't 
remember  them  at  all,  except  this  sandwich  exchange  idea. 

Riess:     You  didn't  go  up  there  for  dancing  classes  yourself? 


Caldwell:   No.   I  wasn't  allowed  to  dance.   I  was  never  allowed  to  dance, 
and  there  were  never  any  cards  allowed  in  the  house,  so  I  don't 
know  how  to  play  bridge  or  anything  about  cards  at  all .   And  the 
one  thing  I  would  dearly  love  to  do  is  to  dance  well,  and  I 
never  got  a  chance.  My  husband  and  I  used  to  dance  some,  and  of 
course  I  went  to  dances  as  an  adult,  but  I  never  felt  at  ease. 

One  of  the  things  I  remember  very  vividly  about  early 
Berkeley  was  that  lovely  little  park,  down  at  University  and 
Shattuck,  which  has  now  got  buildings  on  it.   Lovely- -there  are 
lots  of  pictures  of  it.  Trees,  and  grass,  and  that's  where  you 
took  the  train  to  go  to  the  ferry  boat  to  San  Francisco.   You 
either  went  Key  Route  or  Southern  Pacific.   And  you  could  go 
every  twenty  minutes,  and  it  only  took  about  forty,  and  it  was 
marvelous.   I  remember,  as  so  many  hundreds  of  people  still 
remember,  the  pleasure  of  the  trip  to  San  Francisco  by  boat,  and 
train,  and  it  was  so  fast.  And  so  delightful! 

Later  on  I  was  on  the  Berkeley  Art  Commission  here,  and 
aware  of  where  we  had  parks  and  where  we  didn't,  and  how  we 
treated  our  streets.   So  I  think  that- -I  consciously  return  to 
the  memory  of  that  lovely  little  park,  and  how  outraged  I  was 
when,  because  Berkeley  wanted  more  revenue  from  taxation,  they 
replaced  it  with  these  horrible  buildings. 

Albert's  Experiments 

Riess:     All  the  time  you  were  with  your  father,  Albert  was  always  living 
there  too? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  he  was  there.   He  had  the  whole  top  floor  of  that 

three -story  house.   There  were  two  bedrooms  up  there,  and  one 
was  his  laboratory,  scientific  laboratory,  and  the  other  his 
bedroom.   And  during  the  first  world  war- -maybe  I  mentioned 
this --he  had  a  radio,  and  he  was  not  allowed  to  have  an  aerial 
outside,  he  was  not  allowed  to  have  an  aerial  at  all,  so  he 
erected  one  inside.   But  one  day  a  policeman  came  and  put  an  end 
to  that.   I'll  never  forget  going  to  the  door  and  seeing  the 
policeman  asking  for  my  brother!   Scared  to  death! 

Riess:     How  did  the  policeman  find  out? 

Caldwell:   I'm  not  sure.   It  must  have  been  because  he  was  communicating 
with  other  radio  fans. 


He  was  very,  very  advanced  in  his  scientific  interest, 
whether  it  was  chemistry,  or  mechanics.   He  worked  in  the 
summer- -which  was  very  unusual  for  students  then- -in  order  to 
earn  money  for  his  equipment,  for  his  laboratory. 

An  Independent  Child.  Transportation 

Riess:     The  train  went  out  to  the  Bay,  didn't  it,  to  meet  the  ferry? 
I'm  thinking  of  what  we  now  think  of  as  the  Berkeley  pier. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  that  was  much  later,  many  years  later.   No,  we  went  down  to 
Oakland  by  train,  right  to  the  edge  of  the  water,  and  then  got 
on  the  boat. 

The  Berkeley  pier  was  much,  much  later,  after  I  came  here 
to  live  as  an  adult  with  my  husband.  My  first  job  was  at  the 
Legion  of  Honor,  and  it  only  took  fifteen  minutes  from  the  end 
of  the  Berkeley  pier  to  Hyde  Street  in  San  Francisco.   And  then 
I  just  drove  through  the  Presidio  to  the  Legion  of  Honor. 
Really  and  truly,  it  took  only  thirty- five  or  forty  minutes  in 
all.   But  that  was  many  years  later. 

In  those  earlier  days  there  was  a  train  down  to  Oakland, 
right  to  the  edge  of  the  water,  as  I  said  before,  and  there  we 
got  on  the  boat.   You  see,  my  memory  of  getting  to  San  Francisco 
is  much  earlier,  this  other  way.   Of  course,  I  was  very  young. 
I  went  with  my  brother.  Then,  of  course,  after  he  died  I  went 
alone,  although  I  remember  going  alone  when  I  was  younger, 
before  his  death. 

I  remember  on  landing  they  had  a  rope  they  put  in  front  of 
people,  particularly  the  business  people  who  couldn't  wait  to 
get  off  the  boat  and  rush  to  their  offices.  They  had  a  rope, 
and  then  they'd  drop  the  rope,  and  you'd  rush  off  onto  the 
shore.   Once- -I  couldn't  have  been  more  than  seven--!  was 
crossing  alone,  and  my  pants  fell  down  to  the  ground  just  at  the 
moment  that  they  dropped  the  rope.   [laughter]   I  was 
amazingly --looking  back,  I  wouldn't  have  known  the  word 
"composed,"  but  I  remember  I  stepped  out  of  them,  stuck  them  in 
my  pocket,  and  walked  on.   [laughs] 

And  I  used  to  walk  up  from  the  ferry  building  oftentimes  to 
my  mother's  home.   I  either  took  the  cable  car  up  to  Pacific  and 
Taylor,  or  I  would  walk.   Sometimes  right  through  Chinatown—of 
course,  the  Chinese  are  very,  very  protective  of  children.   It 
was  only  when  I  was  an  adolescent  and  walked  through  the  Italian 


district  and  there  were  the  whistles  that  I  worried,  but  then  I 
wasn't  worried  about  attack,  I  was  just  embarrassed. 

I  must  say  one  thing  about  crossing  the  Bay.   I  loved  it, 
but  there  were  times  when  the  boat  actually  would  get  confused 
in  the  fog,  and  have  a  hard  time  finding  the  pier.   I  was  a 
little  apprehensive  about  that,  but  also  I  thought  it  was  quite 
an  adventure. 

I  did  everything  alone.   I  was  so  much  alone  and  on  my  own. 
The  only  thing  I  didn't  like  about  that  was  after  I  became  old 
enough  so  that  it  wasn't  necessary  to  have  a  housekeeper,  there 
would  be  nobody  home  when  I  came  home  from  school.   That's  why  I 
became  so  fond  of  dogs.   I  had  a  dog,  and  I  would  go  out  walking 
all  by  myself  up  in  the  hills --which  of  course  you  would  never 
dream  to  do  now,  it's  too  dangerous.   But  this  was  when  I  was  in 
high  school. 

There  was  no  housekeeper,  but  I  can't  remember  doing  any 
cooking.  My  father  must  have  gotten  the  dinner.   I  was  never 
brought  up  to  be  domestic.   I  made  my  bed,  very  badly,  and  that 
was  all.   Didn't  do  any  cleaning,  didn't  do  any  cooking. 

One  time,  later  on--.   I  was  still  in  high  school.   1  was 
very  much  hoping  that  my  father  would  remarry,  and  there  was  a 
woman  he  was  attracted  to.   She  was  accustomed  to  perfection  in 
the  house  and  food.   My  mother  and  Pops- -as  I  called  Colonel 
Wood- -also  wished  that  my  father  would  remarry,  and  they  had 
their  cook  cook  a  dinner.  By  this  time  I  must  have  been  able  to 
drive,  and  I  drove  my  mother's  car  and  brought  over  a  meal  that 
had  been  cooked  by  my  mother's  cook. 

I  didn't  lie,  but  it  was  just  assumed  by  this  lovely  lady 
that  I  had  prepared  this  dinner,  and  I  was  such  a 
well-brought-up  young  lady,  and  my  father  must  be --[ laughs ].   I 
think  that  was  kind  of  amusing,  to  think  that  my  mother  and 
stepfather's  cook  would  have  prepared  this  dinner  for  my  father 
and  his  lady  friend.   And  indeed  they  were  married,  later,  after 
I  left  the  house . 

I  also ,  from  those  days ,  remember  going  down  the  Vine  Lane 
steps,  down  to  Shattuck  and  Vine  streets,  to  meet  my  father 
coming  home  on  the  train  from  San  Francisco.  When  we  first  came 
to  Berkeley  he  was  still  working  at  the  YMCA  in  San  Francisco, 
as  an  employment  secretary,  before  he  got  himself  established  in 
the  church  in  Berkeley.   So  I  used  to  go  down  and  meet  him. 
There  is  a  building  on  the  corner  of  Vine  and  Shattuck  with  a 
sort  of  cupola  on  it  that  goes  back  to  the  last  century;  it's 


still  there.   It  was  a  meat  market  then;  it's  a  produce  market 

I  used  to  go  down  the  Vine  Lane  steps ,  and  I  remember  my 
father,  as  he  passed  the  place  in  Vine  Lane  where  I  now  live, 
explaining  to  me  the  use  of  the  subjunctive.   [laughter]   I  also 
didn't  know  that  it  was  the  first  lane  in  Berkeley,  first  one  of 
these  pedestrian  passageways  from  one  street  to  another.   Nor 
that  I'd  ever  live  there.   But  I  became  very  fond  of  this  north 
Berkeley  area. 

Riess:     And  all  of  these  passageways  were  really  designed  to  work  with 
public  transportation,  weren't  they? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   Since  people  didn't  have  cars  then,  universally,  as 
they  do  now.   Every  member  of  a  family  now  has  a  car. 
Unbelievable,  to  me.  My  father  had  a  car,  but  he  didn't  use  it 
except  for  recreation,  and  fund-raising  for  his  church. 

When  I  was  ten  my  father  and  my  brother  and  I  bicycled  all 
the  way  from  Berkeley  to  Point  Lobos .   We  went  over  the  Santa 
Cruz  mountains ,  but  I  can  assure  you  we  came  home  on  the  train 
with  our  bikes  in  the  baggage  car.  We  got  to  San  Jose  the  first 
day,  and  that  was  fifty  miles.   But  from  then  on,  when  we  got  to 
the  Santa  Cruz  mountains,  we  walked  our  bikes.   They  didn't  have 
gears  in  those  days.   Probably  passed  by  what  was  later  on  the 
site  of  The  Cats. 

Riess:     Well,  isn't  that  a  wonderful  memory! 

Caldwell:  Yes,  it  was  a  wonderful  memory,  except  it  was  so  exhausting.  We 
stopped  overnight  in  the  Santa  Cruz  mountains  at  some  religious 
resort  that  my  father  knew  about.   The  most  beautiful  moment  was 
coming  over  the  pass  when  we  saw  the  ocean.   Of  course,  it  was  a 
two -lane  highway  then. 

I  think  Point  Lobos  and  Yosemite  were  the  greatest  natural 
sights  of  my  childhood,  that  I  really  recognized  as  beautiful. 
Just  not  "nice  to  be  here,  out  in  the  open,"  but  of  great 
natural  beauty. 

Father  and  Daughter 


Tell  me  more  about  your  father. 


Caldwell:   My  relationship  with  my  father  was  always  a  very  warm  one,  but  I 
was  terribly  distressed,  of  course,  about  his  anger,  and  he  was 
angry  most  of  the  time.   Not  at  me  or  my  brother  but  at  the 
disruption  of  his  life.   He  was  very,  very  strict  with  us  about 
going  to  church  and  that  kind  of  thing,  but  very  loving,  took  us 
on  all  kinds  of  expeditions  and  so  on.   [phone  rings] 

Riess:     In  the  summer  of  1917  you  went  with  your  father  to  visit  his 

family  in  Cincinnati.   Do  you  have  strong  recollections  of  that 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  have.   His  mother  and  father  had  died,  so  only  his 

sisters  and  brothers  were  living.   I  remember  going  to  the  house 
where  my  father's  family- -my  father's  father  was  very  much 
interested  in  music,  not  as  a  musician  but  an  appreciator.   They 
had  two  pianos,  and  chamber  music  on  one  night  a  week. 

My  grandfather  was  at  the  time  quite  a  noted  lithographer. 
He's  probably  not  of  any  note  now,  but  he  is  listed  in  the 
history  of  American  lithography.   I  know  more  about  my 
grandparents  through  my  mother's  stories  about  them.   My  mother 
liked  his  mother  and  father.   In  any  case,  I  didn't  meet  my 
grandparents  at  all.   I  just  remember  it  was  a  large  house,  and 
I  hated  the  heat --the  hot  summer. 

I  felt  sorry  for  my  father.   When  we  were  too  young,  we 
couldn't  put  it  in  those  words,  but  he  was  a  lonely  man,  and  we 
were  all  he  had.   And  we  didn't  even  phrase  it  that  way,  but  we 
sensed  it.   I  always  went  to  church  with  my  father- -well,  he 
required  that. 

What  I  really  resented  as  a  child,  living  up  there  on  LeRoy 
Avenue,  was  on  Wednesday  nights  I  was  forced  to  go  to  prayer 
meeting,  and  in  the  neighborhood  my  young  friends --that's 
another  reason  I  was  cut  off  from  my  peers --they  were  at  one 
another's  houses  dancing.   And  I  had  to  go  to  prayer  meeting. 
This  I  resented. 

Riess:     They  were  dancing  on  Wednesday  nights? 

Caldwell:   In  their  homes,  yes,  and  it  happened  to  be  Wednesday,  prayer- 
meeting  night.   They  just  agreed  on  that.   It  was  like  a  little 


Social  Isolation  and  Self-Consciousness 

Caldwell:   I  felt  very  socially  Isolated  from  my  contemporaries  because  of 
these  circumstances.   It  was  very  hard  for  me  to  feel  a  part  of 
my  age  group.   On  the  weekends,  we  went  to  San  Francisco. 
Wednesday  night  I  had  to  go  to  prayer  meeting. 

And  I  also  felt  very  self-conscious  about  my  clothes.   I 
wasn't  badly  dressed,  but  nobody  kind  of  oversaw  that,  and  I 
have  a  self -consciousness  about  whether  I'm  properly  dressed  for 
a  social  occasion,  to  this  day.   I  associate  with  people  in 
Pacific  Heights  in  San  Francisco  in  connection  with  the  Asian 
Art  Museum,  and  I'm  always  so  aware  of  what  they're  wearing,  in 
a  ridiculous  way,  because  I  don't  really  spend  much  time 
thinking  about  those  things  ordinarily. 

There  were  all  kinds  of  things.   For  example,  I  remember  we 
had  the  domestic  science  circle  classes  in  junior  high  school, 
and  the  other  girls'  mothers  had  taught  them  how  to  sew  and 
cook,  and  I  knew  nothing.  My  father  had  a  housekeeper  or  a 
relative  who  lived  in  and  took  charge. 

I  knew  nothing  about  cooking  or  sewing,  and  I  remember 
working  way  into  the  night,  so  late  that  my  father  insisted  I 
had  to  go  to  bed,  making  a  buttonhole,  and  I  pricked  my  finger 
at  the  last.  And  even  though  one  could  wash  out  the  blood  with 
cold  water,  I  didn't  know  things  like  that.   So  all  I  got  was  a 
bawl ing- out  in  front  of  the  whole  class  about  having  turned  in 
my  buttonhole  with  a  little  blood  stain  on  it.  And  I  hated  the 
domestic  science  teacher  from  then  on. 

Riess:     Vere  you  a  good  student? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  was  a  good  student.   Except  in  arithmetic,  in 

mathematics.   Even  as  a  little  girl,  I  was  slow  at  any  kind  of 
arithmetic.  Worst  in  the  class,  probably.   It  was  only  recently 
that  I  understood  what  algebra  is  about.   I  got  a  terrible  grade 
in  algebra.  But  otherwise,  I  learned  to  read  very  quickly. 
After  all,  I  came  from  a  literary  family,  and  I  was  read  to  from 
the  earliest  I  can  remember. 

Riess:     And  you  thought  of  reading  as  a  wonderful  thing  to  be  doing. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes.  And  Beatrix  Potter's  Peter  Rabbit- -to  this  day  I  think 
it's  a  fine  piece  of  literature.   [laughs]   I  thought  I  had 
learned  to  read  when  I  was  four,  because  I  memorized  that  book, 
and  told  my  uncle,  my  mother's  only  brother,  that  I  could  read. 


But  I  had  it  upside  down, 
reading  it. 

And  I  really  seriously  thought  I  was 

Years  later,  when  I  was  with  Jim  Caldwell  in  the  lake 
country  in  England,  we  visited  Beatrix  Potter's  estate,  which 
had  been  given  to  the  National  Trust,  to  the  government.   I  was 
so  excited,  and  the  custodian  motioned  to  me  personally  and  took 
•e  in  another  room  and  said,  "Ve've  never  had  anybody  here  so 
devoted  to  Beatrix  Potter.   I  have  two  pictures  of  her  left,  and 
you  may  have  one."  I  have  to  this  day  this  picture  of  Beatrix 
with  her  dog.  Loving  dogs,  I  chose  that. 

Riess :     Did  your  father  have  friends  among  the  faculty  people  at 

Caldwell:  No,  he  didn't  know  very  many- -he  may  have  known,  but  you  see,  I 
didn't  have  any  social  life  to  speak  of  in  Berkeley.   Either 
adult,  or  of  my  own  generation.   I  was  always  on  weekends  over 
in  San  Francisco.  My  father  had  some  very  nice  friends  through 
his  church,  but  I  don't  remember  very  much  contact  with  the 
University,  although  he  may  have  had. 

I  remember  he  was  a  great  environmentalist,  and  how  upset 
he  was  at  putting  the  [UC  Berkeley]  stadium  where  it  was,  and 
cutting  down  the  trees.   1  remember  his  rage  as  we  stood  there 
and  watched  these  beautiful  trees  being  cut  down,  and  the 
inappropriateness  of  putting  it  there  and  so  on. 

And  he  would  take  us  on  trips  to  Yosemite  where  we  would 
camp,  and  down  to  Point  Lobos,  Carmel .   He  was  always  taking  us 
out  on  expeditions  into  nature ,  and  my  love  of  nature  comes  from 
my  father.   Ve  had  very  nice  outings  together.   But  always  God 
was  brought  into  it.  We  had  to  pray. 

Riess:     Was  your  father  an  activist  as  an  environmentalist? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know  about  that.   1  don't  think  people  were  organized 
activists,  so  to  speak,  so  much  in  those  days.   And  of  course, 
then  as  now,  the  power  of  the  university  is  so  strong  that 
protests  against  any  plans  they  have  are  just  almost- -just 
talking  to  the  wind. 

Riess:     No  "power  of  the  pulpit?" 

Caldwell:   [laughs]  Oh,  no,  no.  He  was  never  a  famous  clergyman  at  all. 
He  always  had  a  small  church,  very  modest.   Very  modest. 


He  came  from  a  very- -my  mother  talks  about  it- -very 
Bohemian,  fun-loving,  beer-drinking,  music-loving  German  family. 
He  was  considered  sort  of  a  maverick.   [laughs] 

Riess:     Do  you  think  that  behind  the  scenes  your  mother  was  in  touch 
with  your  father  and  his  planning  for  your  upbringing? 

Caldwell:   No,  not  at  all.   She  was  not  in  touch  with  him  at  all.   She 

didn't  want  to  have  anything  to  do  with  him.   And  she  just  had 
nothing  to  do  with  where  we  were  or  how  we  were  educated  or 
anything,  nothing,  at  that  time.  Not  until  I  went  to  college. 

Riess:     She  must  have  had  a  great  faith  in  your  father. 

Caldwell:   I  think  she  was  so  absorbed  in  her  suffrage  work  and  in  Colonel 
Wood- -she  knew  we  were  safe,  she  knew  we  were  protected  and  safe 
in  my  father's  care.  But  I  don't  really  think  it  concerned  her 
very  much.   This,  in  looking  back—when  I  say  this,  I  don't  say 
this  with  any  resentment.   I'm  just  trying  to  be  realistic  about 
her  state  of  mind.   Her  world  did  not  include  us  as  focal  parts 
of  her  life. 

Uniqueness  of  Being  a  Child  of  a  Suffrage  Leader 

Riess:     Have  you  known  children  of  other  suffrage  leaders  who  had  a 
parallel  experience? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  heavens,  they  didn't  have  children!   I  remember- -I've 

forgotten  who  it  was  now- -some  woman  in  my  mother's  web  who  had 
a  child,  and  she  said,  "What  can  I  do  with  the  child?"  My  idea 
as  a  girl  was  that  having  a  child,  for  an  intelligent  woman,  was 
just  a  terrible  burden,  psychologically  speaking.   All  these 
women,  wringing  their  hands  about  "what  to  do  with  the  child!" 

Riess:  So  at  least  you've  read  of  parallel  experiences. 

Caldwell:  Not  really,  no. 

Riess:  But  you  know  about  this  hand-wringing. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  but  I  had  no  contemporaries  who  had  a  situation  like  mine. 

Riess:     Once  Sara  and  the  Colonel  were  living  together,  were  you  teased 
or  tortured  about  that? 


Caldwell:   Silence  when  I'd  come  in  the  room,  because  they  were  gossiping. 
Here  in  Berkeley  particularly.   Not  in  San  Francisco,  because  of 
course  they  were  very  much  sought-after  and  venerated  there.   In 
Berkeley  I  would  come  in  the  room  and  know  that  the  sudden 
ceasing  of  the  conversation  was  because  they  were  gossiping. 
When  I  was  older  I  was  more  amused  than  dismayed  by  this . 

Riess:     Are  you  talking  about  a  peer  group  or  parents  of  your  friends? 

Caldwell:   These  were  the  adults.   I  don't  ever  remember  any  awareness  that 
people  my  own  age  had  any  thoughts  about  my  mother  and  Colonel 
Wood.  They  either  didn't  know  about  it,  or  they  were 
indifferent.   I  think  they  just  didn't  know.   No,  it  was  always 
adults  that  were  gossipy. 

Riess:     So  school  was  a  refuge,  school  was  a  neutral  place. 

Caldwell:   I  had  a  good  time  at  school  until  my  brother's  death,  and  that 
just  changed  my  whole  attitude,  I  think,  my  whole  mood  of 
carefree -ness  and  feeling  my  own  age. 

But  this  disapproval --the  only  time  I  was  discriminated 
against  was  not  being  accepted  in  the  Town  and  Gown  Club  here  in 
Berkeley.   That  was  when  I  was  twenty- five  and  came  back  as  a 
young  wife  with  my  husband.   One  woman  cast  the  vote  against  me, 
black-balled  me  because  of  my  mother.   "Not  the  daughter  of  that 
woman,"  she  said. 

And  the  joke  was  that  later  on,  in  '39  and  '40  when  I  had 
charge  of  all  the  lectures  at  the  fair  on  Treasure  Island,  I  was 
kind  of  a  public  figure.   And  they  wanted  me  to  come  to  lecture 
there,  and  I  turned  them  down.   With  great  glee.   Later  my 
husband,  who  read  poetry  very  eloquently,  was  asked,  and  he  also 
turned  them  down.  No,  I've  gone  to  lots  of  affairs  there, 
invited  by  friends,  musical  events  or  something,  but  I  had  never 
any  idea  that  I  ever  wanted  to  belong  to  it.   That  was  probably 
a  petty  vindictiveness . 

Sara's  First  Address  in  San  Francisco 

Riess:     Before  Sara  and  your  stepfather  were  living  together  in  San 
Francisco,  she  had  an  apartment  of  her  own? 

Caldwell:   She  lived  on  Taylor  Street,  just  up  the  street  from  the  later 
Broadway  house,  for  a  long  time,  1601  Taylor  Street,  the  place 


she  lived  for  years,  long  before  Pops  came  down  to  live 
permanently  in  California. 

It  was  an  old  house  which  survived  the  earthquake  and  fire . 
It  was  half  of  a  house;  the  people  who  owned  it  had  had  a 
dispute,  and  they  just  cut  the  house  in  two  and  took  one  of  the 
halves  away.  Anyway,  it  had  an  upstairs  apartment,  and  she 
lived  there  for  a  long  time.   That's  where  my  brother  and  I  used 
to  go  and  see  her  when  we  came  over.  Of  course,  my  brother 
never  knew  the  Broadway  house. 

But  we  used  to  go  to  see  her  there,  and  on  those  occasions 
she  would  make  us  an  apple  pie.   The  two  times  I  ever  remember 
my  mother  cooking  were  when  she  fixed  the  Triscuits  in  Portland 
and  when  she  baked  an  apple  pie  on  Russian  Hill. 

Riess:     When  you  visited  her,  would  you  go  to  the  theater  or  do  things? 

Caldwell:  No,  we  didn't.   It's  interesting,  we  didn't  do  anything.  We 

never  went  away  from  the  house  as  I  can  remember.   We  might  have 
gone  to  a  movie,  but  I  don't  remember  that.  We  were  just  glad 
to  see  her  at  home.   We  didn't  need  any  entertainment  other  than 
my  mother.  And  I  remember,  those  were  very  precious  hours  with 
her.   Nowadays,  children  have  so  much  in  their  lives,  but  we 
never  even  thought  in  terms  of  needing  entertainment,  other  than 
my  mother;  she  was  enough  in  herself. 

Riess:     And  you  would  be  there  for  the  day,  not  for  overnight? 

Caldwell:  No,  we  would  stay  overnight.  We  would  go  on  Friday,  but  my 

father  required  us  to  be  back  for  church  on  Sunday,  so  we  went 
back  on  Saturday  late  afternoon,  and  we  were  resentful  of  the 
fact  that  we  were  required  to  come  back  for  church. 

Riess:     Did  you  have  to  share  her  time  with  any  friends? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   Well,  not  so  much  in  the  Taylor  Street  house.   It  was 
later  on,  when  they  moved  into  the  Broadway  house,  and  there  was 
so  much  entertainment,  always  people  there.  Of  course,  Pops  did 
come  down  to  the  Taylor  Street  house,  too,  from  time  to  time. 
That's  when  I  really  got  over  my  resentment  of  him  and  became 
fond  of  him. 

I  can  remember  the  artist,  [Beniamino]  Bufano.   I  can't 
quite  remember  how  it  was  that  Pops  began  to  be  interested  in 
Bufano,  but  I  remember  he  stayed  at  the  house  one  time,  at  the 
Taylor  Street  house.  But  Pops  just  came  down  occasionally  to 
see  Mother  then  in  that  house,  and  then  later  on  bought  the 
large  house  on  the  corner. 


Riess:     And  did  you  have  feelings  of  shame  or  of  wanting  to  hide  these 
visits  from  your  friends? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no.  On  the  contrary,  everybody  knew  it  anyway.  There  was 
nothing  to  hide;  it  was  out  in  the  open.  No,  I  had  great  pride 
in  her.   I  felt  no  shame  whatsoever.   I  felt  anxiety  for  my 
mother  sometimes,  but  no  shame.   No,  I  thought  they  were 
marvelous.  And  of  course,  it  was  very  interesting  to  know  their 
friends,  and  I  became  fonder  and  fonder  of  Colonel  Vood.   He  was 
loving  and  kind,  and  he  treated  me  like  his  own  daughter. 

Riess:     Berkeley  I  think  of  as  a  sophisticated  and  forgiving  community. 
Caldwell:   Not  then,  not  the  Baptist  Church  world  I  lived  in  here. 


Albert  Ehrgott  with  his  children  Albert,  Jr.,  and  Katherine,  circa 



The  Accident.  1918.  and  Aftermath 

Gal  dwell:   Would  you  like  me  to  tell  about  the  accident? 

Riess:     Yes.   I  know  we  are  coming  up  to  that  point  in  your  life 

history.  And  we've  been  careful  not  to  repeat  what  you  wrote  in 
your  "Afterword"  to  Sara's  oral  history,  but  I  think  we  should 
include  your  account  of  the  accident  that  resulted  in  your 
brother's  death,  and  that  was  so  traumatic  for  your  mother  and 

Cal dwell:   All  right.   My  brother  and  I  were  never  supposed  to  see  Colonel 
Wood.   My  father  referred  to  him  as  "that  man."  And  one  of  the 
hardest  things  about  it  for  me  was  to  have  to  tell  lies.  Mother 
couldn't  very  well  say,  "Erskine,  dear,  the  children  are  coming 
for  the  weekend,  will  you  please  go  stay  with  your  daughter  Lisa 
out  in  Lake  Street."  Anyway,  I  did  see  him,  and  I  had  to 
pretend  I  did  not.   And  it's  very  important  to  know  that, 
because  of  the  terrible  anguish,  double  anguish,  for  my  father, 
because  of  the  circumstances  of  the  automobile  accident  which 
occurred  later.   So  we  used  to  try  to  think  up  all  kinds  of  ways 
of  going  to  see  my  mother  when  my  father  wasn't  home. 

In  any  case,  my  mother  had  readily  acceded  to  my 
stepfather's  request  that  she  learn  how  to  drive  a  car.   She  was 
not  mechanically-minded  at  all.   But  to  him,  everybody  drove  a 
car  by  this  time,  you  see,  and  it  was  nothing- -it's  like  typing 
on  the  typewriter.   Everybody  could  learn  it.   So  she  took 
lessons  and  learned  it.   But  she  never  really  liked  it. 

We  went  off  on  a  picnic  in  October  of  1918.   It  was  a 
holiday,  Columbus  Day,  so  my  brother,  who  was  the  president  of 
his  high  school,  a  senior,  very  much  loved,  he  could  go  too,  and 
so  could  I. 


We  went  over  in  the  car --remember  there  were  no  bridges 
then,  just  an  auto  ferry- -to  Marin  County,  and  we  had  a  picnic. 
After  that  we  looked  at  the  schedule  and  thought  it  was  time  to 
go  back  to  get  a  ferry  boat  back  to  San  Francisco.   But  my 
brother  said,  "Oh,  I'd  like  to  show  you  a  place  I  love  hiking 
with  my  friends,"  because  he  had  friends  in  Marin  County.   So 
instead  of  taking  that  next  ferry,  we  made  a  detour.   This  is 
all  so  memorable,  because  of  the  terrible  events  that  followed. 

Ve  went  up  a  hill  outside  of  Kentfield  called  White's  Hill. 
It  was  getting  quite  steep.   There  seemed  no  place  to  turn 
around,  and  we  thought  we  should  certainly  get  back  for  the  next 
auto  ferry.   So  my  mother  started  to  make  a  U-turn  on  this  very 
•teep  hill,  and  all  of  a  sudden--!  think  part  of  the  bank  on  the 
steep  side  was  a  little  loamy,  rather  soft  —  all  of  a  sudden  the 
car  started,  perhaps  at  ten  miles  an  hour  or  less,  to  just  creep 
over  towards  the  edge . 

I  remember  Pops  shouting,  "Sara,  put  on  the  brake!"  Then 
the  next  thing  I  knew  we  were  slowly,  so  slowly  it  was  like  a 
slow-motion  movie,  like  when  in  the  Olympics  now  they  replay 
somebody  diving  and  slow  down  the  motion,  it  was  just  like  that, 
we  rolled  over  and  over  and  over  slowly  to  the  bottom  of  this,  I 
guess  about  forty-foot- -I'm  just  guessing  at  the  height  of 
it- -canyon. 

My  mother  and  my  brother  and  I  were  all  trapped  under  the 
car.   I  was  sort  of  dazed  by  all  this,  you  know,  and  I  was 
trapped  by  my  arm.   I  wasn't  hurt  in  any  way,  but  I  was  trapped. 
I  could  see  that  Pops  was  the  only  one  thrown  free  of  the  car, 
and  that  his  nose  was  broken.   Blood  was  pouring  down  his  face. 
And  of  course,  he  was  very  old--.  He  started  up  the  hill;  he 
said,  "I'll  go  get  help." 

I  wondered  then,  though  I  was  only  twelve,  whether  he  would 
make  it  physically.   He  looked  in  such  bad  shape.   Then  I 
realized  my  brother  was  making--!  can't  exactly  say  groaning 
noises- -my  mother  knew  he  was  dying,  I  didn't.  As  I  was  told 
later,  the  engine  of  the  car  crushed  his  chest. 

My  mother  and  I  were  both  trapped.   She  says  in  her  oral 
history  that  I  was  hysterical.   I  wasn't  hysterical  at  all;  I 
was  frightened.   I  said  to  her,  "Do  you  think  we're  going  to 
die?"  I  was  so  grateful  to  her  that  she  didn't  say,  "Oh,  no,  of 
course  not."  She  said,  "Darling,  I  don't  know."  And  I  was  very 
grateful  for  her  to  say  it. 

Riess:     Why  were  you  grateful? 


Caldwell:   Because  I  knew  it  was  realistic.   I  was  old  enough  to  know  that 
we  might  die.   So  if  she  had  said,  "Of  course  we  won't,"  I  would 
have  known  that  wasn't  necessarily  true. 

Then  she  and  I  shouted  for  help.   But  in  those  days  people 
shifted  gears,  which  made  a  great  noise  if  you  were  on  a  steep 
hill .   So  to  shout  to  try  to  call  for  help  was  useless ,  because 
that  was  just  the  point  where  the  noise  of  their  car  would  have 
drowned  out  our  cries . 

And  after  what  seemed  an  interminable  time ,  all  of  a  sudden 
some  people  came .   Pops  had  found  a  group  of  high  school 
students  who  were  on  a  hike  from  the  Tamalpais  High  School. 
They  came  and  they  lifted  the  car.   I  was  so  terrified  of  being 
trapped.   But  I  didn't  express  my  terror.  My  mother,  in  the 
oral  history,  seems  to  think  I  was  hysterical,  but  I  was  not. 
I'll  never  forget  my  relief  at  being  released. 

Of  course,  I  had  no  idea  that  my  brother  was  seriously 
hurt.   Mother  did,  but  I  had  no  idea.   And  that  her  left  leg  was 
almost  severed.   It  was  saved  for  her  by  an  army  surgeon  who 
during  the  war  had  learned  how  to  do  grafting  and  saved  her  leg. 
But  I  knew  nothing  about  her  being  seriously  injured  or  my 
brother  being  dead. 

So  he  died  then  and  there,  and  was  not  taken  to  a  hospital. 

They  took  us  to  the  Kentfield  Hospital,  and  Mother  and  Pops 
were  each  put  in  separate  rooms  to  be  taken  care  of.   I  had 
absolutely  no  one  to  turn  to,  but  no  one.   I  went  in  to  see  my 
mother,  and  she  said,  "Don't  speak  to  me."   She  was  in  such 
anguish.   So  that  was  a  rejection  of--.   I  can  feel  the  coldness 
to  this  day  in  my  heart.   But  I  also  realized,  because  by  this 
time  I  knew  my  brother  had  died,  what  anguish  she  was  in. 

Then  my  father,  my  own  father,  who  was  in  a  distant  town 
when  this  happened,  raising  money  for  his  church,  he  came,  and 
of  course  you  can  imagine!  We  were  never  supposed  to  see  "that 
man,"  and  these  terrible  consequences  of  this  particular 

He  took  me  back  to  Berkeley,  and  I  don't  remember  my- -this 
is  where  I  really  blank  out  because  of  the  trauma  of  all  of 
this.   I  don't  remember  anything  more  about  what  happened  except 
the  incident  that  I  told  you  about  disguising  myself  to  try  to 
visit  my  mother,  because  I  hadn't  seen  her  for  such  a  long  time 
since  that  accident,  and  knew  she  was  in  this  house  in 
Kentfield.   [see  following] 


Why  my  mother  said  in  her  oral  history,  "Albert's  death  had 
little  effect  on  Kay,  she  never  mentions  it,"  I  cannot 
understand.   My  God!   I  have  a  very  dear  friend,  Elizabeth 
Ellcus ,  who  thinks  that  the  hardest  thing  that  happened  to  me  in 
my  childhood  was  losing  my  brother.   He  was  such  a  strong 
support  and  delightful  companion.   I  relied  on  him.  He  just 
meant  everything  to  me.   And  we  both  were,  had  to  be,  mature 
beyond  our  years. 

Riess:     Had  Albert  helped  you  understand  what  was  happening? 

Caldwell:  No.   I  always  understood  that  my  mother--!  never  ever,  for  all 
that  Mother  mentioned  so  often  that  my  brother  understood  her 
love  for  Colonel  Wood,  I  never  questioned  the  fact  that  it  was 
right  for  her  to  leave  my  father.   Never.   I  never  thought,  "Oh, 
why  didn't  she  stay?"  or  anything  like  that.   Never.   I  just 
accepted  it. 

But  Albert,  because  of  the  circumstances  of  the  divorce  and 
our  loving  our  mother  and  always  wanting  to  somehow  or  other  get 
to  see  her,  we  had  this  great  bond,  too,  you  see.   And 
conspiratorial  often,  because  of  my  father's  prohibition  of  our 
seeing  Colonel  Wood. 

Riess:     I'm  struck  by  how  psychologically  out  of  touch  your  mother  was. 
There's  no  inkling  of  empathy. 

Caldwell:   No.   And  she  reminded  me  constantly  that  I  resembled  my  father, 
so  I  was  a  more  painful  association  for  her.   I  never  could 
quite  figure  out  what  she  meant  by  that,  but  anyhow,  that's  what 
she  used  to  say. 

Riess:     Did  your  father  institute  any  legal  action? 

Caldwell:  Do  you  mean  subsequent  to  this  accident?  No.  He  did  earlier 
on;  he  used  to  threaten  to  have  Pops  arrested  for  bigamy.   And 
he  put  detectives  on  the  house  when  she  was  living  on  Taylor 
Street  in  San  Francisco.   But  nothing  ever  came  of  that. 

Riess:     You  say  that  he,  the  Colonel,  Pops,  was  so  old.   He  always 
seemed  so  old? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  he  always  seemed  to  me  like  a  very  old  man.   After  all, 
he  was  fifty-eight  [CESW  born  1852]  when  she  first  met  him,  so 
for  a  child,  for  a  young  person--!  mean,  not  even  a  child,  but 
even  when  I  was  much  older  I  thought  he  was  a  very  old  man. 

Riess:     Did  you  have  a  hard  time  imagining  this  as  a  passionate 


Caldwell:  An  interesting  question- -I  just  accepted  it  as  it  was.   I  think 
maybe  it  did  cross  my  mind  from  time  to  time ,  but  they  were  so 
fond  of  one  another,  it  was  so  evident  that  there  was  such  a 
deep  love  and  rapport,  that  I  Just  accepted  it  the  way  it  was. 
I  knew  that  my  mother  was  very  attractive  to  men  wherever  she 

And  you  see,  my  own  father  was  twenty  years  older  than  she, 
and  Colonel  Vood  was  thirty  years  older,  or  practically  so.  But 
my  father  didn't  seem  old  the  way  Pops  did.  He  never  seemed 
like  an  old  man  to  me  at  all. 

Painful  Memories.  Visits 

Caldwell:   The  real  binding  of  my  loving  relationship  with  my  stepfather 
happened  later,  at  the  time  of  my  mother's  nervous  breakdown, 
and  the  aftermath  of  her  care  in  the  house  on  Russian  Hill.1  I 
didn't  go  into  much  detail  about  that  in  the  "Afterword"  to  my 
mother's  oral  history,  the  terrible  time,  turning  that  house 
into  a  hospital.   The  details  of  her  nervous  breakdown  were  just 
appalling,  physically.   And  the  arrangements  of  the  house, 
making  it  almost  like  a  prison,  her  room. 

Riess:     Could  you  feel  that  coming  on,  the  nervous  breakdown? 

Caldwell:   I  was  too- -how  old  was  I?- -I  was  about  thirteen.   I  didn't  know 
enough  about  it,  but  of  course,  she  was  not  herself,  that's  the 
thing.   It  was  about  a  year  after  my  brother's  death,  and  she 
was  driving,  you  see,  when  he  was  killed,  and  this  made  her 
suicidal.   Didn't  want  to  live  any  more. 

Riess:     She  had  recovered  from  the  physical  effects  of  it? 

1  There  was  no  breakdown  in  1918,  after  my  brother's  death.  Obviously 
depression.  I  would  suggest  we  make  a  distinction  between  a  depression  and  a 
nervous  breakdown.  Certainly  she  was  depressed,  but  she  did  not  have  a 
transformation  of  personality  or  an  inability  to  control  her  life.  A  breakdown 
did  not  occur  until  Los  Gatos.  That  had  to  be  after  the  acquisition  of  Los 
Gatos.  When  we  would  go  there  weekends,  because  we  only  went  there  weekends,  we 
would  live  in  a  little  shack  that  had  been  on  the  property,  awaiting  the 
completion  of  the  house.  Although  for  a  date,  to  save  my  life,  I  can't  figure 
out  exactly  when  they  acquired  that  property  at  Los  Gatos.  [KC] 





Caldwell : 

Yes,  she  had,  but  she  became  psychologically  utterly  disturbed. 
She  didn't  have  any  signs  of  that  at  that  time,  right  after  the 
accident.  It  just  came  on  slowly. 

Right  after  the  accident  they  were  in  Kentfield? 

Yes,  I  think  she  describes  in  her  oral  history  that  her  leg  was 
almost  severed  in  the  accident,  and  an  army  surgeon  who  had  new 
techniques  of  bone  healing  saved  it  from  amputation.   So  they 
stayed  in  Kentfield  quite  a  while  for  that  reason,  because  she 
was  convalescing  from  this.   And  I  was  forbidden  to  go  to  see 
her,  because  my  father  forbade  us  ever  to  see  Colonel  Wood. 

This  is  an  amusing  thing:  I  missed  her  very  much- -I  was 
only  twelve.  My  father  was  out  of  town,  and  I  went  up  to  the 
attic  here  in  Berkeley,  and  I  got  a  little  old-fashioned 
raincoat  with  a  hood  attached  to  it,  Little  Red  Riding  Hood  or 
something  like  that.  And  I  got  a  doll  that  had  yellow  hair--. 
I  wanted  to  disguise  myself  because  1  had  once  had  the  terrible 
experience  of  somebody's  saying  to  my  father,  "Oh,  I  saw  your 
daughter  and  the  most  interesting- looking  man  having  lunch,  with 
long  hair  and  a  beard,"  and  my  father  knew  I  had  seen  Colonel 
Wood,  and  there  had  been  a  very  great  to-do  about  that. 

I  was  determined  to  go  over  by  myself  from  Berkeley  to 
Kentfield,  and  that  involved  many  pieces  of  transportation.   And 
remember,  there  were  no  bridges,  no  people  driving  you  in  cars. 
So  anyway,  I  got  the  doll  with  the  yellow  hair,  and  I  took  it 
off,  and  I  put  this  hood  around  my  face  and  put  the  yellow  hair 
on  my  forehead  and  on  either  side  of  my  face.   I  took  a  cane, 
and  limped,  and  I  thought  if  anybody  saw  me,  they  wouldn't  know 
who  I  was . 

Of  course--  [phone  rings]  oh,  I'm  so  sorry, 
portable  phone . 

I'll  get  my 

Yes.   Let's  not  stop  that  story.   So  there  you  were--. 

Well,  getting  to  San  Anselmo  was  quite  a  problem  because,  of 
course,  there  were  nothing  but  ferries  across  the  Bay,  so  I  had 
to  go  take  a  train  down  to  the  Bay,  and  then  the  ferry  boat  to 
San  Francisco.   Then  I  had  to  take  a  ferry  boat  to  Sausalito, 
and  then  I  got  onto  a  railroad  train,  and  got  off  at  Kentfield. 

I  had  never  gone  there  before  by  myself,  and  so  I  had  some 
difficulty—and  it  was  pouring  rain,  that  was  the  reason  for  the 
raincoat.   Finally,  I  somehow  or  other  managed  to  find  the 
house.   And  you  must  remember  that  though  I  was  only  twelve, 


that  nobody  in  my  life  shepherded  me  around  anywhere, 
entirely  on  my  own. 

I  was 

1  opened  the  door  and  Colonel  Wood  said,  "Kay,  darling!" 
And  1  burst  into  tears  and  said,  "Oh,  you  recognized  me!" 
Because  I  thought  my  disguise  was  so  perfect.   By  this  time,  of 
course,  the  rain  had  washed  the  yellow  hair  away,  it  was  sort  of 
sticking  to  my  face,  and  not  connected  to  my  head  at  all. 

Riess:     It's  a  desperate  story,  isn't  it. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  it  really  was.   Anyway,  that  was  a  memorable  event.   A  very 
triumphant  one  that  1  got  there  and  had  a  chance  to  see  my 
mother.   And  I  didn't  see  her  for  a  long  time  after  that  because 
of  the  prohibition  on  seeing  Colonel  Wood. 

Another  time  a  little  later,  a  long  time  went  by,  and  they 
had  rented  a  house  nearby,  in  Mar in  County.   I  wanted  to  see  my 
mother.   So  my  father  said  he  would  take  me,  but  it  must  be 
clear  that  Colonel  Wood  would  not  be  in  sight.   My  mother's 
older  sister,  Mary  Parton,  who  lived  in  San  Francisco,  had  come 
over  to  Kentfield  to  be  of  use.  And  she  mixed  up  the  date,  and 
as  we- -I  think  I  told  this  in  the  oral  history—as  we  approached 
the  house  there  was  my  mother  reclining  on  a  chaise,  and  my 
stepfather's  arm  around  her. 

You  can  imagine  the  effect  on  my  father.  We  retreated,  and 
my  father  shouted  all  the  way  back  down  the  canyon,  "You  killed 
your  son,  you  killed  your  son."  And  I  remember  hating  my  father 
at  that  moment  for  saying  that.   I  felt  that  was  a  terrible 
thing  for  him  to  say. 

But  this  emphasizes  the  difficulty  1  had  in  seeing  my 
mother,  on  account  of  this  prohibition.  My  brother  and  I  were 
always  contriving  ways  of  seeing  my  mother  without  my  father 
knowing  about  it. 

Riess:     What  kind  of  communication  did  you  have  other  than  that? 
Telephone  calls  or  letters? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  my  mother  called.   But  then  I  usually  dissolved  in 

tears,  and  so  my  father  was  very,  very  dismayed  at  the  thought 
of  too  many  telephone  calls.   He  couldn't  stop  my  mother  from 
calling,  but  he  felt- -understandably- -that  this  was  upsetting  to 
me.   Yes,  she  called  every  so  often. 

Riess:     How  did  your  father  help  you  stand  the  pain  of  all  of  this? 


Caldwell:  Veil,  he  felt  that  the  influence  of  Colonel  Wood  was  the  most 
dreadful  thing  that  could  happen  to  us.   See,  he  had  no  belief 
that  that  relationship  would  last.  Colonel  Wood  had  had  so  many 
affairs  with  so  many  women,  and  he  thought  this  was  just  another 
affair.   I  was  too  young  then  to  understand  that  this  was  his 
view,  but  as  I  grew  older  and  look  back  on  it,  I  see  that  was 
his  idea. 

And  also,  you  see,  Colonel  Wood  was  an  outspoken  atheist, 
and  my  father  after  all  was  a  clergyman.   He  had  told  me  when  I 
was  twelve  that  my  mother  would  go  to  Hell.   I  then  and  there 
rejected  Christianity,  because  1  decided  I'd  rather  go  to  Hell 
with  her.   So  for  me  the  church  was  no  longer  of  any  meaning 
whatsoever.   I  didn't  want  to  hurt  my  father's  feelings,  and  of 
course,  I  tried  very  hard  not  to  let  him  know  what  my  views  were 
on  that  subject. 

Riess :     When  you  would  be  together  for  those  brief  periods ,  was  your 
mother  all  mother  and  trying  to  make  up? 

Caldwell:  Not  really.  Later  on,  and  this  is  going  forward  in  time  for  me, 
to  seventeen,  the  house  in  San  Francisco  was  such  a  center  of 
cultural  life,  whether  writers  or  artists  or  musicians,  that 
they  were  always  entertaining.   They  had  a  live -in  Chinese  cook, 
and  whether  it  was  breakfast,  lunch,  or  dinner,  there  was  always 
somebody  there .  And  then  1  remember  wishing  that  my  mother 
would  just  reserve  time  for  me,  but  there  were  all  these 
distractions . 

She  was  so  attractive  to  people.   I  felt  she  didn't  belong 
quite  to  me.   1  found  that  difficult  sometimes  to  take,  and  I 
often  resented  her  guests,  however  nice  they  might  be.  However, 
she  tried  from  time  to  time  to  compensate  for  this.   I  remember 
once  she  arranged  a  party  when  I  was  a  teenager.   I  was  so 
astonished.  But  that  was  one  event. 

Her  focus  was  on  her  work,  on  the  Women's  Party,  and  of 
course  first  of  all  on  Colonel  Wood.  He  was  the  center  of  her 
life.   I  accepted  that,  and  I  never  felt  resentful.   Oh,  in  the 
beginning  I  felt  very  resentful  of  Colonel  Wood,  but  in  the 
course  of  time  I  came  to  love  him  so  much  that  I  just  accepted 
that  this  was  her- -never  questioned  that  it  was  the  right  thing 
for  her  to  do,  to  have  left  my  brother  and  me  to  my  father.   I 
have  friends  my  own  age  who  are  very  censorious  of  my  mother 
giving  up  her  children,  but  1  never  felt  that  she  had  done  the 
wrong  thing. 

My  mother  never  really  realized- -she  always  talked  about 
how  much  my  brother  accepted  this--.   I  don't  think  she  ever 






realized  how  completely  "right"  it  seemed-- [laughs]  you  can't  do 
that  in  quotation  marks—but  1  always  just  accepted  this  was  the 
way  it  was.  I  never  questioned  at  all  that  she  should  have  left 
my  father. 

She  was  miserably  unhappy,  according  to  her  own 
[testimony].   I  didn't  know  they  were  unhappy.   She  wasn't  home 
very  much,  even  when  I  was  a  child  in  Portland,  Oregon.   I 
always  think  of  her  as  leaving  in  the  morning.  And  somehow  or 
other,  for  all  that  my  father's  income  was  so  small  as  a 
clergyman,  we  always  had  some  kind  of  household  help. 

Vere  there  mother  figures ,  any  other  mother  figures  that  came 
into  your  life? 

Caldwell:   None  at  all.   I  felt  completely  on  my  own. 

I've  always  thought  that  one  of  the  reasons  that  my 
marriage  meant  so  much  to  me,  aside  from  being  very  fond  of  my 
husband,  is  that  it  gave  me  a  sense  of  security  and  continuity. 
So  that  his  [Jim  Caldwell 's]  death  at  sixty-five,  when  1  was 
fifty-nine,  was  a  double  blow,  because  again  1  was  all  alone,  on 
my  own,  as  I  had  been  as  an  adolescent,  as  I  had  been  all  of  my 
childhood  and  adolescence.  There  was  nobody  there. 

You  sound  admirably  independent,  but  that's  a  very  poignant 

This  is  a  very  personal  thing,  but  I  know  you  want  honesty.   You 
asked  about  the  motherliness.   I  remember  when  I  menstruated,  it 
happened  to  be  on  a  Friday,  at  Berkeley  High  School,  and  I  went 
on  over  to  San  Francisco  and  expected  this  great  event  to  be-- 


--and  she  didn't  have  time  really.   Somebody  was  around,  and  of 
course  1  wouldn't  have  spoken  of  it  in  the  presence  of  a 
stranger.   But  I  didn't  feel  it  was  made  enough  of.   [laughter] 

When  my  own  daughter  had  this  event,  we  were  traveling--! 
think  we  were  in  New  Mexico- -and  we  had  dinner,  just  my  husband 
and  my  son  and  my  daughter,  and  we  got  some  wine,  and  we  toasted 
her.   We  made  a  great  thing  of  it,  as  I  would  have  wished  it  had 
been  done  for  me.   But  I  didn't  resent  that  it  wasn't--.   I  felt 
a  little  hurt,  but  it  didn't  diminish  my- -I  didn't  accuse  her. 


Sar«'«  Breakdown 

Riess:     For  all  of  the  intellectually  sophisticated  people  you  were 

around,  were  any  of  them  psychologically  aware?  In  other  words, 
did  your  mother  know  any  Freudians,  or  Jungians? 

Caldwell :   Oh,  no,  absolutely--.   She  had  nothing  to  do  with 
psychoanalysis,  not  any. 

And  at  the  time  of  her  nervous  breakdown,  Colonel  Vood 
brought  down  from  Napa  a  person  they  called  then  an  alienist? 
Do  you  know  that  word? 

Riess:     Yes. 

Caldwell:   And  of  course,  socially  it  was  something  you  didn't  talk  about 
if  somebody  in  the  family  had  a  breakdown;  it  was  just  not 
mentioned.   It  was  not  accepted  as  something  that  you  could 
possibly  share  with  other  people. 

She  [the  alienist]  was  a  lovely  woman,  wonderful  person. 
The  reason  I  have  such  vivid  memories  of  her,  though  I  do  not 
remember  her  name,  was  because  she  turned  to  me  when  I  said  to 
her,  "Do  you  think  my  mother  will  ever  recover?"   She  gave  me  a 
beautiful  smile  and  said,  "Yes,  she  will,  in  a  maximum  of  two 
years . " 

Riess:     That  was  a  wonderful  gift  to  give  you. 
Caldwell:   It  really  was,  yes. 

But  she  [my  mother]  really  had  to  be  sequestered,  you  see, 
in  a  room  for  that  length  of  time,  and  nobody  could  enter  the 
room,  because  of  her  suicidal  impulses.   No  one  could  enter  the 
room  with  anything  with  which  she  might  harm  herself.   So  it  was 
very,  very  difficult,  and  that's  when  my- -I  didn't  go  into  much 
detail  about  her  care,  but  that's  the  time  that  my  stepfather 
and  I  became  so  close,  because  we  both  loved  her  so  much. 

Riess:     But  for  the  first  few  years  after  the  accident  things  seemed  to 
be  okay. 

Caldwell:  Yes. 

Riess:     Why  did  it  take  so  long  to  manifest  itself,  the  nervous 


Cal dwell:   I  think  she  just  brooded  over  it  [my  brother's  death].  They 

would  go  down  to  Los  Gatos--this  was  before  they  built  The  Cats, 
and  they  had  a  temporary  place  pending  the  completion  of  the 
house,  a  small  shack  that  had  been  on  the  property  when  they 
bought  it. 

My  stepfather  had  made  these  wonderful  cement  tables  and 
benches,  and  they  were  all  over  the  place,  and  my  mother  would 
go  off  every  day,  and  there  was  one  where  she  would  go 
presumably  to  be  writing  poetry.  But  we  discovered  she  had  a 
Ouija  board,  and  she  hoped  she  was  communicating  with  my 
brother.   She  did  nothing  but  this,  day  in  and  day  out.   We 
didn't  know  that  for  a  long  time,  we  thought  she  was  writing 

Then  she  got  into  a  kind  of  trance ,  and  she  would  go  and 
stand  at  night  in  her  nightgown,  staring  at  the  moon.   We 
realized  that  she  was  sick,  so  we  took  her  to  San  Francisco,  and 
then  arranged  the  house  so  that  she  could  be --that  she  was 
perfectly  safe  from  destroying  herself.   I  don't  know  whether 
all  of  these  details,  whether  you  want  to  edit  these  out  or  not, 

First  we  took  her  to  a  place--.   Oh,  yes,  she  tried  to  hurl 
herself  out  of  the  car  on  the  ride  from  Los  Gatos  to  San 
Francisco.   I  knelt  on  the  back  of  the  car  and  threw  my  body 
across  her  so  she  couldn't  leap  out  of  the  car.   And  when  we  got 
there  we  didn't  know  what  to  do  with  her,  because  you  see,  she 
might  jump  out  of  the  window  or  something.   So  we  had  to  take 
her  to  a  perfectly  awful  place.  We  were  just  groping  in  the 
dark  for  a  place  to  put  her,  temporarily,  for  her  safety.  We 
couldn't  handle  it  at  home. 

Riess:     You  took  her  to  a  hospital? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Well,  it  was  a  private  place  that  took  care  of  mentally 

disturbed  people,  the  best  we  could  do,  and  very  quickly.   Then 
Colonel  Wood  hired  somebody  to  put  bars  on  the  windows  of  the 
bedroom  in  the  house  on  Broadway  and  Taylor  in  San  Francisco, 
and  that  room  was  her  room  then  for  about  two  years .   Then  we 
had  a  nurse,  of  course,  around  the  clock.   See,  she  wanted  to 
destroy  herself,  that  was  her  fixation.  Little  by  little,  she 

That  room  she  was  in  happened  to  have  been  my  room,  by  the 
way,  a  beautiful  one  with  a  balcony.   At  that  time  I  wasn't  yet 
living  there  [not  until  September  1923],  I  Just  was  going  over 
on  weekends,  my  court-allotted  time,  there  or  Los  Gatos.   I 


think  later,  when  her  teeth  were  pulled,  that  was  after  I  was 
living  there.  But  I'm  not  absolutely  sure  of  that. 

Riess:     Were  there  any  medications  used  in  the  treatment? 

Caldwell:   I'm  sure  there  must  have  been,  but  I  wouldn't  know.   I  wouldn't 
know  a  thing  about  that.   I  just  know  that  this  wonderful 
alienist  came  every  so  often,  and  I  looked  forward  to  that. 

We  would  go  in  to  see  her,  but  she  was  fixed  so  on  her 
guilt.   She  was  not  worthy  to  live,  that  idea,  you  see. 

Riess:     She  would  speak  with  you? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  but  not  really  herself ,  just  in  such  mental  anguish.   I 

know  they  gave  her  hot  baths  to  relax,  I  remember  that.   That's 
the  only  treatment  I  remember.   It  made  a  great  impression  on 
me,  that  she  would  recline  for  a  long  time  in  a  hot  tub,  with  a 
nurse  in  attendance  of  course. 

Presence  and  Influence  of  Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood 


Caldwell : 


Colonel  Wood  sounds  very  practical . 
handle  all  of  this. 

I  mean,  he  was  able  to 

He  dealt  with  each  situation,  like  where  to  put  her  temporarily 
when  we  couldn't  handle  her  at  home.  He  solved  problems  as  we 
went  along.   Everything  was  all  right  when  he  was  around, 
because  he  was  so  absolutely  unshakable,  and  he  was  never  upset, 
except  when  she  was  dangerously  ill. 

The  only  time  I  ever  saw  him  upset  with  my  mother  was  once 
when  the  doctor  told  her  she  mustn't  drink  coffee  because  of  her 
colitis,  and  she  sneaked  around  and  tried  to  drink  it  when  he 
wasn't  looking.   That  was  the  only  time  I  ever  saw  him  just 
outraged  that  she  wouldn't  cooperate  for  the  sake  of  her  health. 

The  thing  that  really  upset  him  was  social  injustice.  He 
was  a  calm,  solid,  firm  and  a  wonderful  father  figure,  just  a 
marvelously  comforting  kind  of  person.   There  was  nothing  he 
couldn't  make  you  feel  comforted  about. 

And  this  was  the  time  that  the  two  of  you  drew  very  close 


Caldwell:  Yes,  that's  right.  Long  before  that  I'd  loved  him  and  enjoyed 
seeing  him,  but  this  was  on  an  adult  level  for  me,  you  see.  We 
were  adults  together,  as  well  as  stepfather  and  stepdaughter. 

Riess:     During  the  period  of  time  when  Sara  was  recovering,  were  there 

Caldwell:   Occasionally  she  did  have,  somebody  very  close.   But  I  can't 
remember  who  came.   They  had  to  be  almost  examined.   Almost 
anything,  even  a  little  something,  a  person  can  turn  into  their 
wrists.   I  can't  remember  who  came.   It  was  such  a  traumatic 
thing  to  go  in  to  see  her,  because  she  was  so  unlike  her  usual 
self.  Only  fixed  on  this  one  idea  of  self-destruction,  and  her 
guilt- -wicked,  wicked  woman  thing. 

I  think  probably--!  don't  know  this- -but  I  think  probably 
for  all  her  clarity  of  purpose  in  leaving  my  father  because  of 
her  love  of  Colonel  Wood,  she  probably  had  some  lingering  sense 
of  guilt  about  leaving  my  brother  and  me.  And  I  think  that  also 
the  times  that  she  didn't  come  back  at  Christmas  because  of  the 
Women's  Party- -that  might  have  entered  into  it,  along  with  that 
terrible,  terrible  trauma  of  losing  her  son.   I  don't  know.   I'm 
just  guessing  there.   Because,  of  course,  the  real  cause  of  her 
breakdown  was  his  death,  and  the  fact  that  she  was  really  the 
cause  of  it. 

Riess:     You  wrote  about  that  in  the 
to  write  about  that? 

"Afterword" .  Was  that  hard  for  you 

Caldwell:  Not  by  that  time.  The  way  I  had  dealt  with  that  frightful 

experience,  a  traumatic  crucial  experience  in  my  life,  was  to 
talk  about  it,  and  this  I  did  know.   A  psychiatrist  said  it  was 
important,  that  you  mustn't  bury  these  things.   So  I 
compulsively  talk  about  it  to  somebody  who  becomes  a  friend,  a 
new  friend.   Eventually  it  gets  around  to  that  auto  accident.   I 
still  know  how  I  felt  trapped  under  that  car.   Of  course,  I 
didn't  know  my  brother  was  dying.   My  mother  did.   I  had  no  idea 
that  he  was  in  peril. 

Riess:     The  psychiatrist  who  said  the  most  healing  thing  was  to  talk 
about  the  trauma,  who  was  that?. 

Caldwell:   That  I  learned  from  Helen  Meiklejohn.   She  had  had  an  experience 
in  a  railroad  train  where  it  had  gone  off  the  tracks  and  over  a 
river  at  night,  and  she  had  to  be  rescued  along  with  all  of 
them.   She  was  terribly  funny.   She  said,  "I  was  carried  by  an 
unknown,  but  very  handsome,  man  in  my  nightie."   [laughter]  But 
she  couldn't  sleep  at  night  remembering  all  this  peril,  and  a 
psychiatrist  told  her,  "You  must  recount  this  over  and  over  and 

over."  That  was  it.   I  hadn't  thought  of  that  until  now;  it  was 
Helen  Meiklejohn  who  told  me  that. 

Riess:     Was  Sara's  recovery  complete,  or  did  you  feel  uneasy? 

Caldwell:  No,  it  seemed  quite  complete.  It  was  almost  like  waking  from  a 
trance,  you  know,  a  fairy-tale  kind  of  thing.  She  seemed  quite 

Riess:     Then  did  it  become  something  that  was  never  spoken  of? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  we  didn't  talk  about  it.   I  don't  think  it  was  really 

resolved  to  bury  it;  it's  that  we  were  so  glad,  and  we  just  went 
on  from  there . 

Kay's  Life  on  Hold 

Riess:     How  did  your  life  work  for  those  two  years? 

Caldwell:  After  my  mother  recovered- -the  doctor  had  said  she  would  not 

recover  for  two  years,  but  she  recovered  more  quickly- -we  went 
abroad.   I  guess  that  must  have  been  the  first  part  of  '24. 

Meanwhile ,  always  wanting  to  make  use  of  time  in  as 
intellectually  profitable  a  way  as  possible,  while  I  was  living 
in  San  Francisco  I  enrolled  in  a  private  school  in  Berkeley--! 
can't  remember  the  name  of  it  —  down  on  Telegraph  Avenue.   It  was 
quite  famous  then.  And  I  studied  French  and  history.   I 
couldn't  possibly  just  fritter  away  my  time! 

Riess :     And  this  was  your  idea? 

Caldwell:   It  was  my  idea.   And  my  stepfather  financed  it.   I  commuted  from 
San  Francisco  to  Berkeley,  the  other  way  around,  for  a  few 
months  pending  our  going  to  Europe. 

Then  we  went  to  Europe,  I  think  in  January  of  '24.   And 
there  again  Colonel  Wood  and  I  became  very  close ,  because  while 
my  mother  liked  art,  she  wasn't  attracted  to  it  as  strongly  as  I 
was.  And  he  just  loved  to  go  to  galleries,  and  we  did  this  a 
lot  together. 

There's  this  one  little  thing  that  has  to  do  with  Berkeley, 
about  going  to  Europe.  My  mother  hated  ocean  travel.   She 
didn't  even  want  to  cross  the  English  Channel  by  boat,  though  it 
doesn't  take  very  long.   So  we  went  by  air  from  Paris  to  London, 


and  it  was  unbelievable,  almost  unheard  of  at  that  time  to  go  by 
air.   So  it  was  written  up  in  the  Berkeley  paper,  that  some 
Berkeley  citizen  had  taken  this  perilous  flight  from  Paris  to 
London . 

Riess:     Was  it  perilous? 

Caldwell:   Well,  I  developed  a  severe  claustrophobia  after  the  auto 

accident,  because  I  was  trapped,  but  somehow  or  other,  airplanes 
had  never  bothered  me.  You'd  think  one  would  have 
claustrophobia  in  the  airplane,  but  I  did  not  have  it.   I 
thought  it  was  simply  marvelous.   Except  that  the  roar  in  your 
ears  stayed  for  two  days.  There  was  no  protection  from  the 
noise . 

I  knew  enough  about  art  at  that  time  to  think  everything 
looked  like  the  patterns  of  Cezanne,  if  you  looked  below. 

Riess:     But  first  you  had  the  ocean  crossing. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes.  Poor  Mother,  she  was  sick  the  whole  time.  And  I  never 
was.  My  stepfather  told  me  how  to  handle  the  motion  of  the  boat 
by  adjusting  your  stance,  and  that  worked  beautifully. 

Riess:     Was  there  anything  memorable  about  the  trip  across  the  country 
to  board  the  ship?  Did  they  stop  and  visit  people  along  the 

Caldwell:   No.   We  simply  went  to  New  York,  and  then  we  took  a 

Mediterranean  boat  and  went  directly  and  got  off  at  Naples,  and 
went  to  Sorrento. 



Women's  Party  Meeting.  Washington.  1921.  Via  Chicago 

Riess:     Tell  me  about  the  preparations  for  and  the  trip  to  Washington, 
and  in  fact,  your  mother's  decision  to  take  you. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  and  I  was  only  fifteen.   That's  rather  interesting. 
You  see,  the  railroad  trains  were  perfectly  wonderful  at  that 
time,  and  I'll  never  forget  the  big  send-off  at  the  Oakland  Pier 
where  you'd  get  the  train.   We  had  a  compartment,  and  Mrs.  Kent 
was  also  on  that  train.   And  probably  because  of  Colonel  Wood's 
thoughtfulness  and  generosity,  we  had  great  baskets  of  fruit  and 
flowers,  and  it  was  all  very  exciting. 

We  stopped  over  first  in  Chicago,  and  my  mother  had  very 
dear  friends  in  Chicago.   I  immediately  went  on  my  own,  walked 
to  the  Art  Institute  of  Chicago.   Because  of  Colonel  Wood- -this 
was  before  we  went  abroad- -because  of  him,  and  the  beautiful 
pictures  in  the  house  on  Broadway  in  San  Francisco,  I  had  loved 
to  look  at  paintings. 

Everyone  was  so  astonished  that  I  had  just  taken  off  and 
walked  from  the  hotel  by  myself  to  the  Art  Institute.   I 
remember  that.   It  seemed  to  me  a  perfectly  normal  thing  to  do. 
I  just  wanted  to  go.   I  was  very  independent.   I  thought  nothing 
of  finding  my  way  around  the  city  by  myself,  because  I  had  to  do 
that  in  the  San  Francisco  Bay  Area,  after  all. 

Riess:     You  didn't  need  to  ask  your  mother's  permission,  because  you 
hadn't  been  asking  it  for  years. 

Caldwell:   That's  right.   Oh,  there  wasn't  a  matter  of  any  deception 
anyhow.   I  mean,  I  Just- -yes,  I  wasn't  used  to  parental 
guidance,  so  to  speak.   Anyway  that's  a  memorable  experience 
for  me,  going  to  the  museum  there  by  myself. 



Caldwell : 


Caldwell : 




When  you  were  in  Chicago  were  you  staying  with  friends? 

No,  we  stayed  at  a  hotel.   I've  got  it  written  down  somewhere 
where  we  stayed.   It  was  walking  distance  easily  from  the  Art 
Institute,  and  I  always  loved  the  Impressionists- -they  have  such 
a  wonderful  collection  there.   (From  my  stepfather  I  had  learned 
to  look  at  paintings  as  recreations  of  reality  by  talented 
individual  artists.) 

Did  Sara  visit  Hull  House  when  you  were  in  Chicago? 

No.   I  don't  remember  anything  but  the  museum  and  these 
wonderful  people  named  Johannsen.   The  man  was  a  great  labor 
leader,  and  his  wife  a  marvelous  person,  warm  and  loving.   Their 
son  Homer  was  a  friend  of  my  brother,  and  his  age,  and 
supposedly  I  should  have  liked  him  enough  to  really  care  about 
him,  but  I  never  did  care  about  him  any  more  than  as  a  friend. 
Later  on,  when  I  was  at  the  University  of  Wisconsin  for  two 
years,  I  invited  him  up  to  a  sorority  dance,  but  I  never  had  any 
romantic  feelings  about  him  at  all. 

Then  we  went  on  to  Washington,  and  we  stayed  at  the  Women's 
Party  headquarters.  This  event --the  reason  we  were  in 
Washington  was  for  a  convention  of  the  National  Women's  Party. 
I  remember  it  was  a  lovely  house,  converted  into  the  purposes  of 
the  Women's  Party.   I  was  most  impressed  by  two  things:  the 
women  themselves,  so  focused  on  what  they  were  doing,  and  the 
men,  charming  men,  that  supported  them.   One  of  them  brought  me 
some  Parisian  perfume  from  Paris,  Caron.   I'll  never  forget. 

I  was  only  a  girl,  but  I  was  treated  like  a  charming  young 
woman,  you  see,  there.  And  then  I  lobbied,  and  the  New  York 
Times  carried  my  picture  as  the  youngest  lobbyist  for  the 
Women's  Party.   I  have  that  picture  somewhere,  by  the  way. 

The  suffrage  amendment  had  passed  in  November  1920. 
lobbying,  what  was  it? 


I  don't  remember,  I  just  walked  around  and  knocked  on  doors. 
There  were  always  "rights"  to  be  endorsed.   I'm  amazed  to  think 
of  my  confidence  then.   Now  I  could  no  more  do  anything  like 

You  knocked  on  doors  in  the  halls  of  Congress? 


What  was  your  line? 

I  don't  remember  that.   I  just  remember  doing  this. 



of  California,  Youngest 
Delegate   to   the   Convention   of   the   National 
Woman's   Party  in  Washin -ton,  Attended  by 
Women  From  More  Thi-n  Thirty  States. 


Riess:     And  who  were  the  "charming  men?" 

Cal dwell:  They  were  lawyers,  and  they  were  people  who  marched--!  was  told, 
I  didn't  see  this --in  a  parade  on  Fifth  Avenue  in  New  York  in 
favor  of  the  suffrage  amendment. 

I  wasn't  aware  of  any  stiff -collared,  severe  feminists  at 
all- -except  for  Alice  Paul,  she  was  severe.   She  was  really  a 
formidable  person  just  to  sit  in  the  room  with.   I  wouldn't  have 
known  how  to  express  it  then,  but  I  didn't  feel  you  could  make 
any  personal  relationship  with  her. 

But  in  any  case,  I  remember  the  pleasure  of  staying  in  this 
beautiful  place.   I  was  terribly  ill  at  one  time,  just  stomach 
upset,  and  I  was  embarrassed  about  that,  more  than  anything.  My 
mother  tells  in  the  oral  history  about  when  she  went  to  present 
the  cup  commemorating  early  suffragists,  and  I  was  afraid  and 
disoriented  when  I  couldn't  find  her  in  this  great  mob. 

Riess:     Why  don't  you  tell  that  story? 

Caldwell:   She  was  invited  to  present  a  cup  in  memory  of  the  three  famous 
suffragists  in  the  beginning  of  the  century:  Susan  B.  Anthony, 
Elizabeth  Cady  Stanton,  and  Lucretia  Mott.   And  that  cup  is  down 
here  at  The  Bancroft  Library.   They  don't  like  to  receive 
artifacts,  but  they  did  receive  that  one. 

Riess:     You  were  supposed  to  have  been  in  the  audience  somewhere? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  was  in  the  audience  alone,  you  know,  and  I  was  really 

scared  then  when  afterward  I  could  not  find  my  mother.   The  only 
time  I  remember  panicking  in  my  day  was  then.   I  really 
panicked.   I  don't  remember  how  I  found  her,  but  I  finally  did, 
and  I  remember  I  was  really  upset. 

Riess:     Sara  mentions  sitting  in  the  front  row  on  that  occasion  with 
Jane  Ad dams . 

Caldwell:   But  1  don't  remember  meeting  Jane  Addams .   1  probably  did,  but  I 
don't  remember.   Later,  when  I  graduated  from  high  school,  I 
told  you  1  was  one  of  the  graduation  speakers,  and  my  topic  was 
Jane  Addams.   So  I  knew  who  she  was,  but  somehow  or  other--! 
probably  did  meet  her,  but  it  didn't  make  any  impression.   I 
knew  my  aunt,  my  mother's  sister,  Mary  Parton,  had  worked  at 
Hull  House. 

1  don't  know  how  1  ever  was  able  to  make  a  public  speech. 
That  was  my  first  appearance  in  public,  and  I  was  so  nervous 



Caldwell : 

Caldwell : 



because  Mother  and  Pops  and  my  father  were  all  in  the  audience . 
They  tried  to  hide,  Mother  and  Pops,  way  up  on  top,  but  I  knew 
they  were  there,  and  I  was  nervous  as  the  dickens  about  that, 
lest  my  father  should  see  them. 

To  go  back  a  bit,  why  did  your  mother  decide  to  take  you  to 
Washington?  Vas  this  a  kind  of  coming- of -age  trip  or  something? 

I  don't  know,  because  1  had  to  be  excused  from  school, 
course,  I  was  enormously  pleased. 

And  of 

In  your  mother's  oral  history  in  the  chronology  the  dates 
indicate  that  you  went  back  in  February  1921. 

Veil,  I  know  it  wasn't  snowing,  because  as  a  Califoraian,  I 
wouldn't  have  forgotten  that.   It  was  nice  weather. 

Your  mother  had  decided  this  was  important  for  you. 

I  don't  know  why  she  took  me. 
pleased.   Such  a  rare  thing. 

But  of  course,  I  was  enormously 

When  you  shared  the  compartment  on  the  train,  was  this  a  time 
when  there  was  kind  of  an  opportunity  for  intimacy  between  the 
two  of  you? 

No.   Always,  my  brother  and  I  both  felt  that  everything  was  Just 
marvelous  when  we  were  with  my  mother.   She  was  an  exciting 
person,  and  she  was  very,  very  affectionate  and  demonstrative. 
But  she  was  always  preoccupied,  too,  with  her  own  affairs.   But 
on  the  other  hand,  when  I  say  preoccupied,  I  don't  mean  that  she 
didn't  acknowledge  a  person  and  make  a  personal  relationship; 
she  did  that  too.  But  fundamentally,  she  was- -this  was  a  big 
responsibility  for  her. 

I  guess  the  question  I  have  is,  do  you  think  your  mother  was 
beginning  to  see  you  as  a  separate  person  who  was  being  brought 
up  to  carry  on  the  movement  in  some  way? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  think  that. 

I  came  across  a  little  book,  I'm  ashamed  to  say  I  hadn't 
remembered  it  at  all,  that  she  gave  me  when  I  graduated  from 
high  school,  with  three  poems  to  me  in  it.   And  every  one  of 
them  was  how  sad  I  was.  And  even  earlier  in  that  little 
notebook  that  she  kept  when  she  was  in  that  sanitarium  in 
Pasadena  in  1913  she  spoke  about  how  I  was  sad,  and  she  saw 
great  sorrow  for  me  in  my  life.  Well,  of  course,  she  brought  it 


on,  to  a  great  extent.   But  I  never,  ever  resented  her  for  her 
leaving  my  father.   I  Just—this  is  the  way  it  was. 

Riess :     Vere  there  hints  that  in  taking  you  to  Washington  she  was 
opening  a  door  for  you? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  don't  think  so.   I  think  it  was  Just  a  nice  thing  for  her 
to  do  at  that  point,  and  easy  to  do.   I  don't  know  how  I  ever 
got  permission  to  leave  school,  and  my  father's  permission,  but 
anyway,  we  did  that. 

I  Just  felt  I  was  part  of  the  suffrage  movement,  and  very 
excited  about  it.  The  lobbying  to  me  was  of  course  an  adult 
thing  to  be  doing,  too.   But  yes,  I  took  on  the  attitudes  of  my 
mother.   She  was  a  very,  very  persuasive  and  enthusiastic 
person.   I  thought  she  was  Just  wonderful,  and  it  was  a  great 

Incidentally,  at  that  time,  at  fifteen,  I  had  my  first 
lesson  in  I  guess  economic  injustice.   Maybe  that's  not  the  way 
of  phrasing  it,  but  I  remember  my  aunt  became  radicalized  by 
Darrow.   She  stopped  working  for  Jane  Addams,  for  Hull  House, 
because  Darrow  had  persuaded  her  that  doing  social  work  was  Just 
"mopping  the  floor  with  the  faucet  on,"  and- -I  suppose  this  is  a 
cliche  now- -in  order  to  really  overcome  social  injustice,  you 
had  to  have  a  new  system  by  not  having  that  source.   And  that 
made  a  great  impression  on  me,  that  image.   [A  recent- -June 
1993 --book  on  Darrow  by  Geoffrey  Cowan  describes  vividly  my  Aunt 
Mary's  relation  to  Darrow.  RFC] 

The  Adult  World.  San  Francisco 

Caldwell:  Really,  as  far  as  my  mother  was  concerned,  I  lived  in  an  adult 
world.   There  were  no  other  people  my  age,  anywhere.   And  I 
liked  these  people.   I  thought  they  were  wonderful  people.   When 
I  would  go  to  San  Francisco,  there  would  never  be  any  young 

My  first  boyfriend  was  Jewish,  and  a  San  Franciscan.  He 
was  at  Harvard.   I  was  somewhat  scornful  of  boys  my  own  age,  as 
adolescent  girls  almost  universally  are,  because  girls  grow  up 
so  much  more  rapidly,  socially  anyway,  than  boys  do. 

Riess:     How  did  you  meet  him? 

Caldwell:   I  met  him  through  people  in  San  Francisco,  I  can't  remember  Just 
how.   I  remember  how  shocked  my  Philadelphia  aunt  was  that  I 
should  have  a  friend  that  was  Jewish.   You  see,  my  parents  had 


Caldwell : 

Caldwell : 

BO  many  Jewish  friends,  and  they  appreciated  them  BO  much,  and  I 
had  never  known  there  was  such  a  distinction. 

She  wrote  my  mother  in  horror  that  I  should  be  going  out 
with  a  Jew.   I  was  just  astonished.  People  were  people,  as  far 
as  I  was  concerned.   I  was  very  much  aware  of  racial  differences 
between  the  Japanese  in  my  school  and  whites ,  but  not  Jews . 
They  were  to  me  the  most  wonderful  people.   I  have  mentioned 
many,  many  times  my  affection  and  appreciation  of  the  cultured 
Jews  in  San  Francisco,  because  they  were  the  ones  in  whose  world 
I  lived  socially  in  San  Francisco,  and  who  were  the  creators  of 
culture  there,  in  music  and  art. 

Who  was  the  boyfriend? 

His  name  was  Bob- -Robert- -Wonnser,  of  S&W  [Sussman,  Vormser] 
company.   It  wasn't  long,  and  it  really  wasn't—he  was  a  very 
self -centered  person,  and,  I  found,  remote.   [laughs] 

After  you  came  back  from  that  Washington  trip,  even  though  you 
were  still  living  with  your  father,  and  you  were  fifteen,  it 
sounds  like  your  social  life  had  gravitated  to  San  Francisco. 

Yes,  my  social  life  was  not  with  my  contemporaries,  with  my  peer 
group,  it  was  always  adults,  with  this  one  exception  of  Bob 
Wormser . 

Rebellion.  Reconciliation.  Berkeley 

Caldwell:   When  I  graduated  from  junior  high  school  I  was  Titania  in  A. 

Midsummer  Night's  Dream  in  our  graduation  play- -even  though  I 
had  dark  hair!   1  think  I  mentioned  that.   We  had  a  marvelous 
time  over  that,  a  wonderful  time.   But  my  brother's  death  cast  a 
great  shadow  on  my  life,  a  sobering,  terrible  shadow  on  my  life. 

When  I  got  to  Berkeley  High  School  I  didn't  get  involved  in 
school  activities  at  all.   I  didn't  feel  part  of  the  life  of  the 
school.   I  ran  for  an  office  one  time,  knowing  perfectly  well  I 
would  be  defeated  and  that  I  was  a  kind  of  an  excuse  for 
somebody  else  to  get  elected.   I  felt  socially  isolated.   But 
that,  I  think,  is  not  just  my  situation.   I  think  many  girls 
feel  that  way. 

And  then,  of  course,  as  I  told  you,  my  father  required  me 
to  go  to  prayer  meeting  on  Wednesday  evenings  here  in  Berkeley 


up  on  LeRoy  Avenue,  and  all  of  my  friends  were  meeting  at  one 
another's  nouses  on  Wednesday  evenings  to  dance.   I  couldn't  do 
this.   I  did  feel  resentful  about  that. 

Riess:     Did  you  discuss  that  with  him? 

Caldwell:  No.  You  see,  girls  then  didn't  confront  their  parents.  They 

accepted  what  they  were  told.   It's  quite  a  different  world  now. 
There  was  no  rebellion  then;  I  did  exactly  what  my  father  told 
me  I  had  to  do . 

A  little  bit  later  I  felt  a  secret  rebellion.   I  remember 
doing  something  that  was  very,  very* -I  was  frightfully  good, 
just  awfully  good,  and  that's  too  bad- -but  anyway,  I  remember 
taking  a  piece  of  chalk  and  going  to  the  Baptist  Church  down  on 
Dana  Street  when  nobody  was  looking  and  writing  on  the  board, 
"Down  with  the  church!"  And  I  felt  deliciously  wicked!   I 
wouldn't  have  offended  my  father,  would  never  let  him  know  I  had 
done  this,  but  I  had  the  most  wonderful  sense  of  release  in 
doing  that. 

That  was  my  only  kind  of  rebellion.  That,  and  once  eating 
all  of  the  chocolate  desserts  that  our  housekeeper  had  fixed  for 
the  family  for  dinner!   She  couldn't  believe  it.   She  Just 
laughed,  instead  of  scolding  me.   The  only  times  I  ever  remember 
being  consciously  a  very  bad  girl.   1  was  painfully,  painfully 

Riess:     Do  you  know  now  any  of  the  girls  you  were  in  high  school  with? 

Caldwell:  One,  to  whose  house  1  went  to  a  party  after  I  graduated  from 

Berkeley  High  School.   She  died  recently.   She  and  I  were  very, 
very  good  friends.   She  lived  in  a  very  conventional  household. 
Her  mother  was  an  interior  decorator,  everything  in  place,  you 
know.  A  surprising  friendship.   I  was  brought  up  in  sort  of 
ragamuffiny  way.  Not  quite --that's  a  bit  of  an  exaggeration. 

Riess:     So  when  you  and  your  husband  came  back- -I'm  not  really  skipping 
forward,  I'm  just  following  through—when  you  came  back  to 
Berkeley,  it  wasn't  as  if  you  were  coming  back  to  a  place  that 
was  really  home. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  I  was  terribly  depressed  when  we  came  back  here  to  live, 
after  I  was  married,  from  the  point  of  view  of  being  in 
Berkeley.   Everywhere  I  looked,  there  were  memories  that  made  me 
very  sad.   It  took  a  long  time  before  I  developed  this 
passionate  love  of  Berkeley  which  I  have  had  for  many  years. 


I  really  felt  I  couldn't  bear  to  live  here  in  Berkeley  at 
first.  But  I  got  a  job  fairly  soon,  and  that  took  me  to  San 
Francisco.  And  I  had  my  own  life  there.  Then  as  my  husband  got 
involved,  and  as  we  developed  so  many  friendships  in  Berkeley, 
Berkeley  had  an  entirely  new  association. 

Berkeley  Fire.  1923 

Riess:     What  are  your  memories  of  the  Berkeley  fire  in  1923? 

Caldwell:   Well,  they're  very,  very  vivid.   The  fire  was  very  similar,  in 
its  rapid  advance  and  the  velocity  of  the  wind,  to  the  recent 
fire  that  took  so  many  houses  and  lives.   This  fire  came  with 
the  same  suddenness,  and  had  also  not  been  controlled  when  it 
could  have  been  in  the  beginning.   It  had  been  burning  for  two 
days  in  Contra  Costa  County,  and  when  the  Berkeley  Fire 
Department  was  alerted  of  this,  they  said,  "But  that's  not  in 
Alameda  County." 

It  came  sweeping  down,  up  over  the  top  of  Buena  Vista,  and 
the  smoke  was  so  intense  that  you  couldn't  see  the  flames,  it 
was  so  close  to  the  house.   My  father,  as  a  clergyman,  as  he 
should  have  done,  was  helping  people,  instead  of  getting  the 
treasures  out  of  his  house. 

Riess:     Where  were  you? 

Caldwell:   Strange--.   I  was  dumping  some  cleaning  fluid  down  the  sink, 

because  of  the  fire,  and  all  of  the  sudden  we  realized  that  the 
fire  was  there.   Cars  were  burning  in  the  street,  so  I  grabbed 
up  my  dog,  a  set  of  Shakespeare,  and  a  Chinese  rug,  and  we 
rushed  out  and  got  in  a  car  just  in  time.   It  was  a  three-story 
house,  and  it  was  destroyed  like  tossing  a  carton  into  a 
bonfire.   The  whole  thing  just  went- -you  saw  it  on  television  in 
a  recent  fire  [October  1991] --it  just  went  like  that. 

We  got  away.   So  then,  my  mother's  car  was  downtown  in  a 
garage,  out  of  the  fire  area. 

Riess:     She  kept  her  car  over  here? 

Caldwell:   No.   I  sometimes  drove  it  over.   I  had  learned  to  drive  in  San 
Francisco,  and  frequently  acted  as  chauffeur  for  Mother  and 
Pops.  On  this  fateful  day  of  the  Berkeley  fire  I  had  parked  my 
mother's  car  in  a  downtown  garage.   I  can't  remember  why. 


But  as  I  was  leaving,  a  Catholic  priest  came  along,  and  I 
flagged  him  down.  He  took  my  Chinese  rug  and  Shakespeare.   I 
kept  my  dog,  you  see. 

One  of  the  things  that  did  surprise  me  at  the  time ,  and  in 
recollection,  was  the  number  of  people  who  came  just  out  of 
curiosity,  and  didn't  offer  to  help,  and  we  could  have  used 
every  car  that  came  by  to  help  us.   People  did  not  do  that  very 
much.   Some  college  students  who  knew  where  their  professors 
lived  saved  their  houses  by  getting  out  with  hoses  and  so  on 
before  the  water  gave  out.  But  for  the  most  part,  no.  And 
practically  all  the  roofs  were  made  of  wood  at  that  time,  and 
all  curled  up  in  this  north  wind. 

Anyway,  we  got  away,  and  I  said  to  my  father,  "I'll  just  go 
over  to  San  Francisco." 

I  didn't  know  that  my  face  was  all  covered  with  soot,  and 
my  hair  probably.   And  as  we  rushed  out  of  the  house  I  had  left 
my  purse  behind,  and  my  money.   I  thought  I  needed  some  more 
gas,  and  not  realizing  that  we  were  now  a  disaster  area- -you 
know,  you're  just  so  focused  on  what's  immediately  before  you  in 
a  disaster  of  that  kind- -I  went  to  a  gasoline  station  and  I 
said,  "I'm  terribly  sorry,  but  I  left  my  purse  in  the  house  and 
it  was  just  burned  up.  Would  you  trust  me  for  five  gallons?" 

"Oh,  lady,  we'll  fill  your  tank!" 

I  thought,  that's  kind  of  surprising.   Then  I  got  down  to 
the  ferry,  auto  ferry,  same  appeal.   "Would  you  trust  me?" 

"Oh,  come  right  on!" 

I  got  on  the  ferry  boat,  and  looked  back,  and  here  was  this 
enormous  area  still  burning,  still  smoking.   And  all  these 
chimneys.   I  have  pictures  of  the  ruins.   I  realized  why  people 
were  so  kind. 

Then  I  got  up  to  Russian  Hill  and  Pops- -I  burst  into  tears. 
I  said,  "Oh,  Pops,  our  house  has  all  burned." 

"It  has,  Kay  darling?  Well!" 

So  Pops  did  what  he  always  did  for  comfort.   The  cook 
wasn't  in  that  evening,  and  he  went  out  and  put  olive  oil  on  a 
chicken  he  took  out  of  the  refrigerator,  and  put  it  in  the  oven. 
The  answer  to  anguish  was  a  good  meal.   [laughs] 


He  had  been  working  at  his  desk  in  his  study,  which  was  on 
the  west  side  of  the  house,  in  other  words,  not  facing  towards 
the  East  Bay.  He  had  no  idea  that  Berkeley  was  a  disaster  area. 
And  anyway,  when  he  was  absorbed  in  his  work  nothing  existed  but 
the  focus.   I've  never  seen  anybody  concentrate  the  way  he  could 
concentrate.  Except  my  husband  later  when  he  was  writing,  the 
same  kind  of  complete  absorption. 

Riess:     But  these  stories--.  You've  been  through  too  much,  I  think. 

Caldwell:  When  I  went  to  live  with  my  mother  and  stepfather  after  the 

Berkeley  fire  of  '23,  when  my  father's  house  burned  down,  I  just 
was  enough  of  an  adolescent  to  assert  myself.   My  father  said, 
"Well,  there  are  nice,  kind  people  in  Berkeley  that  will  put  us 
up,"  and  I  said,  "Dad,  I'm  going  over  to  San  Francisco."  And  I 
said  it  with  enough  assurance  that  he  didn't  question  it. 

Riess:     Did  you  go  over  because  you  felt  needed,  or  what? 
Caldwell:   Well,  that  was  my  other  home. 

Riess:     What  was  the  reason  you  made  that  decision  rather  than  deciding 
to  say  with  your  father? 

Caldwell:   With  my  father?  Well,  he  had  no  home.   I  wouldn't  be  staying 
with  him  really. 

I  really  wanted  to  go  very  much,  but  I  also  had  a  loyalty 
both  ways.   I  felt  it  just  sort  of  was  the  right  thing  to  do. 
It  seemed  normal,  because  after  all,  it  was  my  other  home,  and  I 
was  very  happy  there . 

Riess:     You  still  had  another  year  of  school  back  here? 
Caldwell:   No,  I  had  finished  high  school  that  June. 

College  Thoughts 

Riess:     When  did  your  father  and  Pops  and  Sara  talk  to  you  about 
college,  and  where  you  should  go? 

Caldwell:   In  those  days  you  could  not  go  to  an  Eastern  college  if  you 

graduated  from  any  California  high  school;  you  were  not  prepared 
for  college  board  exams.  There  was  a  group  of  businessmen  in 
San  Francisco  who  didn't  know  this,  and  they  had  a  scholarship 


fund  for  Yale  for  any  California  boy,  but  none  could  qualify! 
So  there  was  no  use  my  trying  for  an  Eastern  college. 

When  the  European  trip  came  up  that  absolutely  postponed 
any  thought  of  college.   I  had  thought,  once  having  decided  to 
go  to  Europe ,  and  with  Mother  and  Pops  having  planned  to  stay 
there  indefinitely- -they  planned  to  become  permanent 
expatriates --that  I  would  go  to  college  in  Europe.  Very,  very 
unreal  is tically  thought  of  the  Sorbonne .   Of  course,  I  didn't 
know  French  well  enough  to  do  that.   But  1  had  this  romantic 
idea  of  college  in  Europe. 

Veil,  then  my  stepfather  had  a  frightful  experience.  The 
government  challenged  a  huge  law  fee  he'd  had  representing  many 
years  of  legal  work.   They  wanted  to  count  it  as  one  year's 
taxable  income.   It  was  a  million  dollars,  so  to  tax  it  as  a 
year's  earnings  would  have  ruined  him.   That  was  the  money  he 
was  going  to  retire  on,  you  see,  so  he  had  to  come  back  to  fight 
that  case,  and  he  fought  it  himself  right  up  to  the  Supreme 
Court,  and  won.   Else,  heaven  knows  what  they  would  have  done, 
financially,  had  he  not  won. 

But  the  assumption  had  been  that  I  would  go  somewhere  in 
Europe  to  college.   Ve  never  talked  it  over,  but  that  was  part 
of  the  idea.   I  don't  think  I'd  ever  have  gotten  into  the 
Sorbonne . 

People:  Genevieve  Taggard.  Hedwiea  Reicher.  Ed  Grabhom 

Riess:  Today  you  were  going  to  talk  about  the  amazing  crowd  of  people 
that  swarmed  through  life  with  Sara  and  the  Colonel  on  Russian 

Caldwell:  Yes,  they  were  remarkable.  Genevieve  Taggard  was  very  important 
to  me- -and  I've  discovered  subsequently  that  almost  every 
adolescent  girl  needs  someone  that's  not  a  family  member  to  talk 
about  sex  with,  and  things  that  she  couldn't  possibly  talk  to 
her  mother  about.   I  have  myself  been  in  later  years  in  that 
position  with  one  particular  young  woman  here  in  Berkeley. 

Riess:     Genevieve  Taggard  was  a  neighbor  in  the  city? 

Caldwell:   She  was  a  neighbor,  and  she  and  Mother  were  very  close.   Her 
husband,  who  had  a  terrible  nervous  breakdown,  her  first 
husband- -not  Kenneth  Durant,  but  the  first  husband,  Bob 
somebody -or -other  whose  last  name  I've  forgotten- -were  very  good 


to  me.  Almost  all  Mother's  friends  treated  me  pretty  much  as  an 
adult,  but  Genevieve  treated  me  on  two  levels,  but  fused 
together.   I  was  aware  she  was  an  adult,  but  she  listened,  and 
she  cared.   I  just  adored  her. 

Riess:     Did  you  really  talk  about  sex? 

Caldwell:   Somewhat.  Not  too  much,  but  a  little  bit.   She  was  so  frank 

about  her  own  life,  you  see.  And  this  was  interesting  to  me,  of 
course.   Bob  Wolfe,  that  was  his  name.   He  had  a  terrible 
nervous  breakdown.  But  Genevieve,  I  never  felt  any  even 
unconscious  condescension  because  of  the  difference  of  our  ages. 
She  treated  me  as  if  we  were  almost  the  same  age.   It  was  a 
wonderful  friendship. 

Then  there  was  Hedwiga  Reicher.   She  was  German.   And  she 
came  to  San  Francisco.   I  don't  know  how  she  happened  to  come. 
But  Maurice  Browne  was  another  very  famous  person  that  came  from 
England  to  the  house,  who  was  trying  to  establish  a  little 
theater  in  San  Francisco.  And  Pops  and  Mother,  being  hospitable 
and  welcoming,  and  always  wanting  to  help  people,  helped  raise 
money  for  that.   Now,  whether  she  [Hedwiga  Reicher]  came  on  that 
account,  1  don't  know.   I  just  know  she  was  enormously 
impressive  as  an  actress. 

The  house  in  San  Francisco--.  Bingham,  who  is  the 
biographer  of  Colonel  Wood,  doesn't  know  anything  about  that 
life  in  San  Francisco,  and  had  a  wrong  date  there  which  I  helped 
him  out  on.   Anyway,  there  was  a  step  between  the  living  room 
and  the  dining  room  that  made  a  kind  of  stage,  and  Hedwiga 
Reicher  would  get  up  there  and  recite  ballads. 

One  night  about  midnight  she  was  yelling,  "I  have  killed  my 
father,  mother--"  this  is  an  English  poem,  and  the  poor  servant 
in  the  house  came  rushing  out,  he  thought  some  terrible  thing 
was  happening,  [laughing]   I've  never  forgotten  that  in 
connection  with  Hedwiga  Reicher. 

Riess:     And  who  might  have  been  there  on  a  typical  night? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  there  was  no  typical  night.   Oh,  no.   There  were  people 

there  all  the  time.   Mother  and  Pops  moved,  you  know,  away  from 
San  Francisco  for  two  reasons:  one,  that  my  stepfather  didn't 
like  the  late  afternoon  wind  on  account  of  his  sinus  trouble, 
and  two,  that  they  had  guests  at  breakfast,  lunch,  and  dinner. 
They  never  had  any  time  to  themselves.   They  were  so  adored  and 

Riess:     These  would  be  out-of-town  people? 



Oh,  people  from  New  York,  from  Europe,  all  over, 

And  then, 

Pops  was  very,  very  much  interested  in  the  nan  who  became 
internationally  famous  as  a  printer,  Edwin  Grabhorn.   Grabhorn 
originally,  with  all  his  talent,  nevertheless  had  to  earn  his 
living  by  doing  advertising  scripts  and  visual  presentations. 
Pops  helped  to  finance  him  so  that  he  didn't  have  to  do  that  and 
could  start  his  own  wonderful  press.   I  just  loved  Ed. 

Later  on,  after  Mother  and  Pops  lived  in  Los  Gatos,  they'd 
come  up  to  San  Francisco  and  stay  in  some  dumpy  hotel- -Pops,  who 
was  so  generous,  hated  to  spend  money  on  hotels.   He  would  then 
wander  the  streets- -Pops  would- -going  from  place  to  place,  and 
he  always  went  to  see  Ed  Grabhorn. 

When  I  went  to  college  I  took  a  course  and  read  the  whole 
of  The  Divine  Comedy  of  Dante.   And  one  day  I  went  to  see  Ed. 
"Jesus,  Kay" --he  always  said  Jesus  something-or-other- -"I 
understand  you  know  how  to  read  Italian."  He  pretended  to  talk 
like  the  common  man.  He  was  not  formally  educated,  but  he  was 
wonderfully  read,  extremely  sophisticated.   But  he  gave  the 
impression  of  just  being  one  of  the  common  people. 

"Jesus,  Kay,  you  can  read  Dante?   I've  got  a  wonderful 
edition  of  Dante  somewhere  here."  And  he  went  to  a  drawer  full 
of  miscellaneous  papers  and  dragged  out  this  beautiful  vellum 
copy,  three  volumes  -  - Inferno .  Purgatorio.  and  Paradisic- -and  he 
wanted  to  give  them  to  me . 

Well,  I  knew  they  were  worth  thousands  of  dollars.  And 
when  he  picked  up  a  pen  and  started  to  inscribe  it  to  me,  I 
grabbed  the  pen  out  of  his  hand.   I  said,  "Ed,  you  must  not  give 
these  to  me!   These  are  very  valuable." 

"Jesus,  Kay,  I  can't  read  this  language!  You  can  read  it." 
And  he  took  the  pen  and  he  inscribed  these  beautiful  books  to 

Riess :     And  you  have  them? 

Caldwell:   I  did  have  them.   Eventually  I  sold  them,  and  I'm  sorry  now  that 
I  did. 

Riess:     What  was  the  edition? 

Caldwell:  Ashendene  Press,  very,  very  beautiful.   I  had  them  at  Harvard 
when  I  was  there,  and  the  man  who  taught  the  course  in  fine 

printing  borrowed  them  and  had  them  in  the  Wagner  Library  on 
display  at  one  time. 

But  anyway,  that  was  a  warm  friendship  I  made.   I  just 
loved  Ed.  He  had  a  great  gift  for  friendship,  and  he  liked 
young  people  very  much.   I  remember  in  London  one  time  there  was 
an  international  exhibition  of  fine  printing,  and  for  the  most 
part  each  printer  had  one  volume  on  display,  but  for  Ed  there 
was  an  entire  case.   In  London!   He  was  marvelous,  and  utterly 
unassuming.   I  met  fine  people  through  him,  too. 

People:  Powvs  Brothers.  Nellie  and  Maurice  Browne.  Lincoln 

Cal dwell:   Another  person  that  used  to  come  and  stay  at  the  house  was  John 
Cowper  Powys.   I  can't  remember  what  Mother  says  about  Powys , 
but  my  brother  and  I--I'm  just  trying  to  think.  My  brother 
never  was  alive  to  have  known  anything  about  the  Broadway  house, 
but  Mother  must  have  known  him  [Powys]  earlier  on,  because  my 
brother  and  I  had  not  heard  a  British  accent  before,  and  we  kept 
our  faces  straight  and  were  very  polite,  and  then  we'd  go  in  the 
kitchen  and  just  roar  with  laughter  and  imitate. 

Powys  refused  to  use  a  linen  napkin,  and  Mother  had  to  buy 
silk  handkerchiefs.  He  also  refused  to  put  his  letters  in  just 
any  mailbox.   I  don't  know  what  his  basis  of  choice  was,  but  he 
would  go  and  find  a  box,  and  he  would  put  in  his  letter--!  can 
see  him  do  this- -shake  the  box  and  be  sure  that  that  letter 
dropped  down.   He  was  very  eccentric. 

His  brother  Llewelyn  also  stayed.  Llewelyn  I  was  aware  of 
as  a  man,  because  he  was  a  kind  of --what  shall  I  say- -he  looked 
on  all  women  with  a  calculating  eye.  [laughs] 

There  were  a  number  of  famous  writers  whose  names  1  can't 
remember  from  New  York.  My  grandmother,  my  mother's  mother, 
used  to  come  to  visit,  and  there  was  one  famous  writer,  Edgar 
Lee  Masters- -I'm  pretty  sure  my  mother  tells  the  story- -who 
denounced  Christ  at  the  dinner.  And  my  grandmother!   I  remember 
that  incident,  I  was  there  at  that  time. 

Also  I  remember  once  when  we  were  celebrating  my 
stepfather's  birthday,  and  everybody  was  proposing  toasts,  I  got 
up  and  said,  "Here's  to  Pops,  almost  everybody  loves  you," 
meaning  my  father  didn't,  you  see.  And  I  couldn't  understand 
why  everybody  burst  into  roars  of  laughter,   [laughter]  I  was 


dismayed  to  think  that  I  had  made  any  kind  of  mistake.   It  was 
my  honesty.   I  had  to  lie  all  the  time,  and  obviously  my  father 
hated  Pops,  so  by  saying  "almost  everybody  loves  you"  I  thought 
I  was  being  faithful  to  the  truth. 

There  was  Nellie  Browne.   Now,  she  was  a  wonderful  person, 
the  wife  of  Maurice,  but  he  was  having  an  affair  with  someone 
else.   I  guess  my  dislike  of  men  in  some  ways- -I  mean  not  that  I 
dislike  men  in  general,  but  I  felt  suspicious  of  them—was 
because  I  just  loved  Nellie,  and  I  knew  that  her  heart  was 
breaking  because  of  her  husband's  affair  with  a  younger  woman. 

Riess:     Who  were  Nellie  and  Maurice  Browne? 

Caldwell:   Maurice  Browne  was  the  famous  producer,  the  one  I  mentioned  a 
few  minutes  ago,  who  came  to  San  Francisco  with  the  idea  of 
establishing  a  little  theater  there.   And  there  was  a  great 
to-do  about  this,  and  great  attempts  to  raise  funds  for  this. 

Riess:     The  Colonel  was  financing  it? 

Caldwell:  Yes.  And  you  see,  the  thing  of  it  is,  whenever  anybody  came 
with  a  problem  of  a  cultural  sort,  you  see,  like  Grabhorn, 
Maurice  Browne,  and  so  on,  Mother  and  Pops  always  were  willing 
to  try  to  help  them. 

Riess:     Financially? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Pops  really  put  Grabhorn  on  his  feet,  you  see,  in  the 

beginning.   I  don't  ever  know  what  came  of  the  fundraising  for 
the  little  theater.   I  know  it  did  not  become  a  reality.   But 
that's  why  the  Browns  from  London  were  there  in  San  Francisco. 

Riess:     Did  your  parents  have  any  really  radical  or  Communist  friends? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  indeed  they  did.   Yes,  they  did.   And  for  a  long  time 
were  very  much  interested  in  the  Russian- -what  they  would  call 
experiment  in  social  justice.   And  they  were  completely 
disillusioned  when  they  found  that  there  was  no  such  thing  as  a 
fair  trial,  and  that  just  finished  Communism  for  them.   But  yes, 
and  my  Aunt  Mary  was  very,  very  radical,  and  she  lived  nearby  on 
Russian  Hill. 

Riess:     Now,  these  other  names:  Lincoln  Steffens. 

Caldwell:   I  was  very  fond  of  Lincoln  Steffens,  very,  very  fond.   I  have  a 
letter  of  his  to  me.   I  was  always  uncomfortable  with  him  in  the 
sense  he  was  so  witty.   A  lot  of  people  felt  that  way.   He 
always  had  this  marvelous  reply,  you  know,  just  for  publication 


almost.   I  was  very  fond  of  him,  but  I  did  feel  intellectually 
BO  inferior  that  I  felt  a  little  uncomfortable,  too.  We  met 
them  in  Italy,  Steffens  and  his  wife- -though  not  his  wife  at 
that  time- -and  I  thought  he  was  just  absolutely  a  delightful 
person,  full  of  humor,  too. 

Riess:     When  you  looked  around  at  these  people,  made  these 

acquaintances,  did  it  begin  to  shape  some  sense  of  what  you'd 
like  to  do  in  your  life? 

Caldwell:  They  didn't  shape  it  at  all,  no.   I  wanted  to  have  a  profession, 
but  I  wasn't  influenced  by  these  people.  Actually,  1  always 
felt- -not  exactly  inferior,  but  I  never  thought  of  having  a  life 
of  any  distinction  in  a  profession. 

Riess:     When  you  talk  about  a  sharp  retort  and  great  wit  and  everything, 
would  that  describe  your  mother  too? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  and  it  was  always  a  joke  at  the  table.   They  had  a 

live -in  servant,  a  Chinese  named  Ming.  He  would  bring  in  a  dish 
to  her  which  she  would  serve  at  the  table  then,  and  she  would 
get  so  involved  in  talking  that  the  spoon  would  be  dripping  over 
the  casserole,  but  she'd  forget  to  put  it  on  the  plate. 
Everybody  was  waiting  for  their  dinner,  and  Pops  used  to  say, 
"Now,  Sara,  we're  all  hungry,"  or  something  like  that.   She  was 
so  involved  in  ideas . 

She  really  loved  people  and  she  loved  discussion.   That 
meant  more  to  her  than  anything  else.   That  impressed  me  very 
much.   Yet  with  so  many  people  coming  and  going  it  was  very  hard 
for  me  to  have  any  time  with  her.  That  was  the  only  time  I  had 
to  see  her,  and  oftentimes  I'd  feel- -I  don't  remember  feeling 
angry,  but  I  used  to  think,  "Oh,  if  only  we  could  have  a  little 
time  alone."  And  then  oftentimes  she  was  gone  on  weekends. 

Sexual  Awareness 

Caldwell:   If  I  had  been  the  free-living  kind  of  young  person  that  lives 
today,  I  could  have  had  a  fine  time  inviting  people  in  to  live 
with  me  there,  but  I  was  a  very  conscientious,  straight- laced 
young  woman.   Really  I  think  afraid  of  any  kind  of  sexual 
experiment  anyway. 

I  remember  bringing  over  a  quite  sophisticated,  very  well 
educated  young  friend  from  Berkeley,  whose  name  I  don't 
remember,  and  feeling  very,  very  happy  to  be  able  to  share  this 


beautiful  house  with  her.  We  would  go  to  the  French  theater. 
But  you  see  how  serious  I  was.  Life  was  serious,  life  was 
earnest,  you  know.   [laughs] 

The  involvement  of  my  parents  in  so  many  political  and 
cultural  activities  was  a  pattern.  The  trivial,  kicking-up- 
your-heels,  having  fun  life  was  just  not  part  of  it  at  all,  and 
that's  too  bad,  in  a  way.   I  had  no  sense  ever  of  play. 

Riess:     I  imagine  you  must  have  been  very  beautiful. 

Caldwell:   I  was  a  pretty  girl.   I  don't  know  whether  I  was  beautiful  or 

not,  but  I  was  pretty,  and  1  remember  being  surprised  at  people 
remarking  on  it.   Or  with  Llewelyn  Powys ,  I  remember  I  was  very 
much  aware  of  his  looking  at  me  in  a  sexual  way,  and  being 
embarrassed  by  it. 

Riess:     And  you  never--? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  never  had  any  affairs  with  any  of  them. 

Riess:     [laughs]   I  wasn't  going  to  ask  that,  but  thank  you.   You  never 
had  any  affairs? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  really  didn't.   I  was  Just  a  really  old-fashioned  girl. 
Riess:     And  yet  was  it  not  a  free-living  period? 

Caldwell:  Veil,  it  was.   I  don't  know  why  I  was  so  straight -laced  and 

I  remember  when  we  were  abroad  and  living  in  Sorrento,  and 
I  went  for  the  day  to  the  island  of  Capri  with  a  bunch  of  young 
American  art  students  who  were  "doing"  the  European  trip.  We 
got  marooned  there  because  of  a  storm.  I  had  a  whole  lot  of- -I 
was  always  so  careful  about  any  security,  and  I  had  a  whole  lot 
of  travelers  checks  and  temporarily  financed  everybody. 

I  went  off  on  a  walk  with  one  of  these  young  men,  and  we 
sat  in  a  cave  because  of  the  storm,  looking  out  on  the  Bay  of 
Naples.  And  I  remember  thinking  he  was  quite  attractive.  Then 
he  told  me  about  his  girlfriend  at  home,  and  I  thought,  "Oh,  1 
mustn't  be  interested  in  this  young  man  at  all.  He's  got  a 
girlfriend  at  home."  I  was  very,  very  moral  and  straight- laced 
about  sexual  things.   No  possibility  of  having  a  relationship 
with  this  man,  when  he's  got  a  girl  at  home.   I  had,  very,  very 
strong  moral  code. 


Did  people  talk  about  religion  and  morality? 


Caldwell:  Well,  it's  a  strange  thing  considering  my  father's  fixation  on 
it  really,  but  probably  because  of  my  mother's  having  left  my 
father,  largely  because  she  couldn't  accept  his  fundamentalist 
beliefs,  1  sided  with  her,  you  see,  on  that.   1  took  her  stance 
on  religion  unconsciously- -not  with  any  conscious  decision.   But 
on  the  other  hand,  I  didn't  want  to  offend  my  father. 

People:  Tony  Luhan.  Ansel  Adams.  Ralph  Stacknole 

Riess:     Do  you  remember  Tony  Luhan? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  I  remember  Tony  the  Indian.   Yes,  he  came,  and  you 
know,  he  was  illiterate.   My  mother  with  her  wonderfully. 
wonderfully  cordial  way,  was  trying  to  make  conversation  with 
him.   She  usually  could  get  people  to  talk.   She  couldn't  get 
anything  out  of  him,  so  finally  she  said,  "Would  you  like  some 
coffee?"   [speaking  slowly  and  deliberately]   "1  like  coffee," 
he  said.   I  heard  him  say  this,  "I  like  coffee."  And  that's  all 
the  conversation  she  could  get  out  of  him. 

Riess:     1  hadn't  realized  he  was  illiterate. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   A  complete  lack  of—like  Lady  Chatterly's  lover. 

Riess:     Was  he  devastatingly  attractive? 

Caldwell:   I  didn't  think  so.   [laughs]   I  thought,  how  could  anybody  want 
to  have  anything  to  do  with  him?  I  thought  he  was  a  lump. 

Riess:     That's  funny.   Ansel  Adams? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  Ansel  Adams,  I  just  loved  Ansel  Adams.   Ansel  was  a  great 

influence  in  my  life,  in  terms  of  photography.   Much  later  I  had 
contacts  with  him  and  made  a  friendship,  when  I  was  in  art 
history  and  going  abroad. 

Riess:     You  were  going  to  tell  me  a  story  about  Ansel  Adams. 

Caldwell:   Yes.   1  had  been  studying  about  Asia  and  Asian  art  for  a  long 
time,  but  I  never  had  been  there,  and  finally,  in  1958,  I  went 
abroad,  by  myself,  for  two  months.   I  sat  next  to  Ansel  Adams  at 
a  dinner  party  before  I  left  and  told  him  1  was  going  to  India 
and  Hong  Kong  and  so  on.   And  he  said,  "What  kind  of  camera  are 
you  going  to  take?"  "Oh,"  I  said,  "Ansel,  I'm  not  taking  a 
camera.   I  have  no  mechanical  aptitudes." 


"Kay,  you're  going  to  go  to  all  these  remote  places" 
--remember,  at  that  time  people  hadn't  traveled  everywhere  the 
way  they  do  now- -"and  not  take  a  camera?"  Two  days  later  1  got 
a  letter  from  Ansel  on  legal-sized  paper  listing  the  make  of  a 
camera  and  all  its  parts,  and  after  each  part  it  said,  "Requires 
no  mechanical  aptitude."  He  then  called  me  up,  and  he  made  an 
appointment,  and  he  took  me  to  a  camera  store  and  saw  to  it  that 
I  took  a  camera,  and  showed  me  one  that  wouldn't  require  any 
mechanical  aptitude . 

I  was  very  indebted  to  him.   1  gave  all  my  slides  to  Mills 
College.   But  otherwise,  without  that  encouragement,  I  never  in 
the  world  would  have  undertaken  photography.  You  see,  cameras 
are  made  today  so  that  you  don't  need  to  know  anything  about 
photography,  focusing  or  anything  else.   But  that  wasn't  true  at 
that  time. 

Riess:     How  had  you  known  Ansel  Adams? 
Caldwell:   Mother  and  Pops. 

You  know  that  he  did  my  wedding  pictures?  How  they  knew 
him  I  don't  know.   But  Mother  and  Pops  always  enjoyed  music,  and 
Ansel  at  that  time  was  not  into  photography,  he  was  a  musician. 
He  was  a  pianist.   Somehow  or  other  they  knew  him,  probably 
through  Cedric  Wright,  who  was  a  violinist  and  a  photographer. 
However  they  got  into  that  circle  I  don't  know.   But  they  were 
very,  very  good  friends. 

Ansel  was  not  a  photographer  then  in  the  sense  that  anybody 
ever  heard  of  him,  or  even  thought  he  was  doing  photography- -as 
anyone  might  do  now.   But  Mother  and  Pops  made  arrangements--! 
didn't  know  Ansel  then  at  all,  except  to  see  him  here  and  there, 
but  not  on  a  personal  basis  like  the  incident  I  just 
described- -and  Ansel  made  the  photographs.   As  a  matter  of  fact, 
I  have  been  trying  to  decide  whether  to  give  them  to  the 
University  of  California,  or  what  to  do  with  them.  Mills 
College  wants  them  very,  very  much. 

They  are  not  good  pictures  from  the  point  of  view  of --they 
are  beautiful  technically,  but  from  the  point  of  view  of 
grouping  they  are  really  a  disaster.  Ansel  said  so  himself.  He 
said,  "You  know,  I  just  can't  photograph  people."   I  wouldn't 
make  that  statement  about  him,  but  he  acknowledged  the  fact  that 
he  didn't  photograph  people  well  at  all.   [Riess  and  Caldwell 
look  at  photographs] 

Riess:     How  about  Ralph  Stackpole? 


Caldwell:   Oh,  I'm  glad  you  mentioned  him.  Yes,  he  did  my  bust  when  I  was 
fourteen.  My  mother  commissioned  that. 

Riess :     Did  you  go  to  his  studio? 

Caldwell:  Yes.  The  thing  of  it  was,  the  situation  is  so  threatening 

today,  wandering  the  streets  alone,  you  know,  but  that  wasn't 
true  then.   I  oftentimes  walked  from  the  Ferry  Building--!  think 
I  mentioned  that  before—up  to  Russian  Hill  rather  than  taking 
the  cable  car. 

When  I  was  sitting  for  the  bust  Stackpole  did  of  me  I 
simply  walked  from  the  Ferry  Building  to  Montgomery  Street,  that 
area.   They  have  since  destroyed  the  building  [Montgomery  Block 
Building]  for  the  Transamerica  Building.   But  that  whole 
artists'  area,  I  would  go  there. 

At  first  I  thought  he  loved  poetry,  and  I  recited  Matthew 
Arnold's  "Dover  Beach,"  but  he  only  wanted  me  to  stay  still,  you 
see?  And  I  realized  the  joke  was  on  me!   I  thought  he  was  just 
loving  to  hear  Arnold,  and  Shelley  and  Keats,  only  to  realize  he 
was  not  listening  at  all,  but  just  making  his  sketches. 

I  simply  adored  him,  he  was  such  an  attractive, 
companionable  man,  but  again,  not  in  any- -just  as  a  friend.   He 
had  the  most  delightful  wife,  an  uneducated  French  woman  who 
learned  English  by  reading  comic  strips,  colloquial  English. 
She  was  lovely.   Eventually  they  went  to  live  in  France 
permanently,  because  of  her.   But  I  thought  he  was  marvelous, 

People:  Helen  and  Anslev  Salz.  the  Menuhins.  and  Others  From  the 
World  of  Music 

Riess:     Helen  Salz,  whom  I  interviewed,  corresponded  with  him. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   You  interviewed  Helen?  I  just  to  this  day  have  such  a 
love  and  respect  for  Helen  Salz. 

Riess :     When  did  you  know  her? 

Caldwell:   Always  knew  her,  because  my  mother- -they  were  such  long,  such 

close  friends.   I  used  to  go  see  Helen  in  her  old  age;  I  used  to 
go  see  her  regularly,  every  few  weeks,  because  I  liked  her  so 
much,  and  I  admired  her  painting.  Our  friendship  grew  in  depth 


because  I  always  "reviewed"  her  paintings  when  they  were  on 
exhibition.   She  knew  that  I  admired  her  work. 

Ansley  Salz  left  us  $1,000  in  his  will,  to  our  amazement, 
with  which  we  bought  that  piano  [Bosendorfer]  over  there.   We 
couldn't  believe  it.  He  was  very  fond  of  us- -he  admired  Jim-- 
and  he  was  so  wealthy,  and  I  guess  he  thought,  "Those  poor 
struggling  people  in  the  academic  world  are  always  underpaid," 
or  something  like  that. 

Riess:     And  you  found  a  Bosendorfer? 

Caldwell :   Yes,  through  a  Chronicle  ad.   Ve  knew  what  a  fine  piano  it  was 
because  of  our  friendship  with  Adolph  Bailer,  who  was 
accompanist  for  Yehudi  Menuhin,  and  who  sponsored  the 
B6sendorfer  in  the  San  Francisco  area. 

That  piano  was  greatly  admired  by  Lili  Kraus .   She  was  the 
friend  of  mutual  friends  of  ours- -I  think  the  Slosses  of  Santa 
Barbara.   They  brought  Lili  Kraus  to  our  house  and  she  "tried 
out"  the  piano  and  loved  it  and  offered  to  give  a  concert!   Two 
other  great  musical  friends,  Albert  Elkus  and  Roy  Bogas ,  both 
expressed  how  much  they  approved  the  purchase!  [laughs] 

Riess:     Were  there  any  other  concerts  performed? 

Caldwell:   Not  by  anyone  in  the  Lili  Kraus  ballpark,  but  Abramowitsch  liked 
to  play  Schubert  on  it. 

Riess:     Well,  that's  a  fine  story,  and  a  generous  gesture  from  Ansley 

Caldwell:   We  saw  a  lot  of  the  Salzes  when  we  came  here  to  live.   They  were 
very,  very  influential  in  our  lives.   Helen  was  on  the 
[American]  Civil  Liberties  Union  board,  and  my  husband  was  too. 
But  we're  skipping  in  time  now.   It  was  later  in  our  own 
well-established  adult  life  that  we  knew  the  Salzes  and  that  1 
knew  Ansley.   It  wasn't  part  of  my  girlhood. 

Riess:     What  can  you  tell  me  about  your  mother  and  Colonel  Wood's 
relationship  with  the  music  world? 

Caldwell:  They  just  loved  music.  Technically  they  had  no  knowledge  of  it, 
but  they  were  great  appreciators.   Maybe  because  of  the 
proximity  of  Yehudi  Menuhin,  who  brought  so  many  musicians  into 
their  lives;  they  met  musicians  they  wouldn't  otherwise  have  met 
without  that  personal  contact  with  Menuhin  as  a  neighbor. 



Cal dwell : 


I  can  remember  how  much  Pops  enjoyed  the  Beethoven 
Quartets,  without  any  knowledge  whatsoever  of  music,  and  as  he 
used  to  say  himself,  unable  to  carry  a  tune.   He  had  what  we 
called  his  kitchen  song,  when  he  was  making  beaten  biscuits --the 
only  thing  he  ever  cooked,  and  he  used  to  love  to  make  punches, 
wine  punches- -he  would  sing,  "Hmm,  humm,  hmm,  humm."  That  was 
his  musical  expression,  and  only  when  he  was  in  the  kitchen 
making  these  biscuits,  and  covering  himself  and  the  floor  with 
flour . 

The  beaten  biscuits  was  something  he  learned  to  make  1 
think  when  he  was  in  the  army,  and  stranded  somewhere  on  a 
march—I'm  just  hazarding  that  this  is  it—where  there  was 
nothing  but  flour  and  water  available . 

No  rising  ingredient? 

Caldwell:  No  rising  ingredient  at  all,  they  were  hard  as  the  table! 
Riess:     Did  they  have  chamber  music? 

I  don't  remember  a  full  trio  or  quartet.   They  were  invited  over 
to  the  Menuhins  for  concerts.   And  I  remember  Yehudi  kind  of 
laughingly  picking  up  a  musical  instrument  and  playing.   It 
seems  to  me  that  when  it  came  to  music  in  their  own  home  it  was 
confined  to  the  piano.   But  since  Menuhin  introduced  them  to  so 
many  instrumentalists,  stringed  instruments,  they  were  invited 
to  concerts. 

I  remember  that  Abramowitsch,  who  became  a  very  famous 
musician  in  our  community,  used  to  play  at  the  house.   He  was 
brought  there  by  the  Erskines.   Dorothy  and  Morse  Erskine 
befriended  the  Abramowitsches  [Bernard  and  Eva]  when  they  first 
came  to  America  with  the  influx  of  Jews  under  the  Hitler  purge. 
They  brought  Abramowitsch  down  to  The  Cats  and  I  remember  his 
playing  then.   They  had  a  very  nice  piano  there,  a  good 
Steinway.   That  piano  was  moved  from  San  Francisco. 

Amusingly  enough,  early  on  I  remember  Ansel  Adams.   He  used 
to  come  and  play,  and  I  remember  how  impressed  I  was  with  the 
quality  of  his  music.  You  know,  before  he  was  a  photographer  he 
was  a  pianist. 

In  your  life  music  has  been  important  too. 

My  passionate  love  of  music  was  definitely  a  development  of  my 
maturity.  That  is  to  say,  when  I  was  a  little  girl  I  liked 
music,  but  I  had  no  exposure  to  the  great  musical  masters,  to 
speak  of,  not  much.   I  remember  once  my  father,  who  came  from  a 


very  musical  family,  took  me  over  to  San  Francisco  when  I  was  a 
little  girl,  and  I  heard  Madame  Schumann -He ink  sing  outdoors. 
My  father,  perhaps  because  his  funds  were  so  limited,  we  didn't 
go  to  concerts  very  much.   I  can't  remember  going  with  him  at 
all  to  concerts,  and  he  just  loved  music. 

I  remember  first  going  to  concerts  actually  at  the 
University  of  Wisconsin,  and  that  was  with  the  man  that  was  to 
become  my  husband.  He  was  very  fond  of  music,  too.  And  then, 
of  course,  when  I  went  to  Radcliffe,  everybody  went  to  the 
Boston  Symphony  on  Saturday  night.   That  was  your  night  out. 
I'm  sure  now  the  social  life  is  more  active,  but  when  I  was 
there  it  was  almost  assumed  that  you  only  went  out  on  a  Saturday 
night.   And  good  Harvard  and  Radcliffe  people  went  to  the  Boston 
Symphony.   I  discovered  symphony  music  when  I  was  in  college, 
and  then  1  became  an  absolute  addict. 

Riess:     And  Mills  was  a  center  for  contemporary  music. 

Caldwell:   I  wasn't  involved  with  music  at  Mills.   I  knew  Madame  Milhaud 
very  well.   She  used  to  audit  my  classes,  actually.   But  I  was 
in  awe  of  her  husband.   I  discovered  later  that  the  reason  it 
was  so  difficult  to  communicate  with  him  was  on  account  of  his 
deafness.  You  thought  that  he  disapproved  of  something  you  said 
because  he  looked  rather  stern.   That  wasn't  it  at  all;  he 
hadn't  heard  a  word.   [laughs] 

Riess:     And  the  Berkeley  Piano  Club? 

Caldwell:  That  was  very  recent.   I  have  only  belonged  to  the  Piano  Club 
for  eight  or  ten  years.   1  don't  know  when  it  was  established, 
but  there  are  so  many  people  with  musical  talent  in  this  area 
that  there  was  no  problem  in  finding  membership  on  the 
professional  level.   Two-thirds  of  the  members  are 
professionals,  and  one- third  are  appreciators.  Margaret  Rowell 
was  responsible  for  nominating  me  for  membership. 

1  remember,  when  they  acknowledged  the  new  members,  my 
telling  this  rather  amusing  story  about  the  Menuhins.   Someone 
visited  them,  and  Yehudi  and  Hepzibah  played  the  violin  and 
piano.   Yaltah,  the  youngest  Menuhin  child  [born  1922],  was 
about  six  or  seven,  and  somebody  said,  "Yaltah,  what  do  you  do? 
And  she  said,  'I  think.'"  And  1  said  that  my  relationship  to 
the  Piano  Club,  since  I  didn't  perform,  was  that  1  thought, 

I  audited  a  number  of  courses  by  Albert  Elkus,  at  the 
University,  on  the  appreciation  of  music.   And  another  thing, 
because  of  our  meeting  so  many  musicians  at  Yehudi  Menuhin' s, 


the  Alma  Trio- -piano,  violin,  and  cello—which  was  established 
there,  when  they  gave  their  concerts  in  Berkeley  they  would  come 
here  to  stay  and  to  tune  up  and  we  would  give  them  food.   So  the 
contacts  were  made  at  Los  Gatos  when  the  musicians  we  met  there 
came  to  Berkeley  to  play. 

The  Alma  Trio  started  at  Yehudi  Menuhin's  [in  1944  at  the 
Alma  estate,  Los  Gatos],  and  then  it  became  a  trio  that  traveled 
all  over  the  United  States,  and  concertized  everywhere.   Gabor 
Rejto,  the  cellist,  was  from  Czechoslovakia,  and  of  course 
[Adolph]  Bailer,  who  was  the  pianist,  was  German.  And  Andor 
Toth,  the  violinist.   They  were  all  refugees,  really,  from 

People :  Beniamino  Buf ano 

Riess:     I  would  be  interested  in  your  first  impressions  of  Beniamino 
Bufano.   Your  parents  were  apparently  smitten! 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   I  thought  he  was  an  infernal  nuisance,  and  wondered 
why  he  hung  around  so  much. 

Riess:     For  Sara  and  the  Colonel,  what  was  the  attraction? 

Caldwell:   I  think  they  admired  his  work  and  wanted  him  to  have 

opportunities  to  have  commissions.   They  thought  he  was  very 

Riess:     He  decided  that  he  would  marry  you,  according  to  the  book  One  of 
Benny's  Faces:  [A  Study  of  Beniamino  Bufano  f 1886 -19701  by 
Virginia  B.  Lewin,  Exposition  Press,  1980.] 

Caldwell:   I  think  that  was  purely  opportunistic,  he  wanted  a  free  lunch. 

I  think  he  simply  thought  if  he  could  marry  me  then  his  economic 
future  was  secure.   But  I  must  say  that  I  hadn't  the  faintest 
idea  that  he  had  any  interest  in  me.   Personally.   Not  any.   1 
was  astonished  in  the  statement  that  he  had  any  interest  in  me 
in  a  personal  way. 

Riess:     Were  your  parents  the  patrons  of  any  other  artists,  in  the  way 
they  took  on  Bufano? 

Caldwell:   They  patronized  Stackpole,  and  they  patronized  Ray  Boynton.   But 
they  were  established  artists,  so  in  a  sense  they  weren't 
helping  them  to  develop  a  clientele  as  they  were  helping  Bufano 
to  develop  his  contacts.   Pops  belief  always  was- -he  said  it 


over  and  over- -that  he  believed  in  patronizing  the  work  of  local 
and  living  artists.   So  in  the  case  of  Bufano  it  was  helping 
somebody  to  become  established. 

Riess:     Did  Pops  have  connections  to  the  San  Francisco  Art  Institute? 

Caldwell:   No,  not  to  my  knowledge.   He  probably  knew  people  connected  to 
it,  but  he  wasn't  on  the  board  or  any  of  that,  he  wasn't  an 
official  ever.   Somehow  or  other,  established  organizations  that 
had  to  do  with  creative  art,  he  didn't  seem  to  be  involved  with 
those.   He  knew  artists  personally;  these  are  all  very  personal 
contacts,  not  official. 

Riess :     Was  Bufano  a  kind  of  lame  duck? 

Caldwell:  No,  it  was  more  that  his  work  wasn't  known  and  they  wanted  to 
publicize  it  and  find  him  contacts.   I  don't  think  there  was  a 
pitying  attitude,  or  condescending  in  any  way.   I  think  they 
felt  he  had  talent  and  they  wanted  to  give  him  full  expression 
of  it. 

You  probably  know  that  Bufano  was  befriended  by  many  other 
people  beside  Colonel  Wood.   Leon  Liebes ,  for  example,  and 
Albert  Bender.   And  he  turned  against  them  all  in  a  most 
despicable  way.   It  wasn't  just  Colonel  Wood  who  was  sued,  but 
all  of  his  benefactors  had  problems  with  him,  his  ingratitude 
and  false  accusations  and  so  on. 

The  Home  on  Russian  Hill 




Russian  Hill,  more  details, 
always  yours? 

Did  you  have  a  bedroom  that  was 

Yes.   I  had  a  bedroom  that  was  perfectly  charming,  and  they  put 
a  beautiful  little  French  motif  wallpaper  on  it  for  me.   It  had 
a  balcony  on  it  looking  off  to  the  east.   And  then  Mother  and 
Pops  had  a  large  room.   That  picture  over  there --there  was  a 
fireplace  in  their  room,  and  that  picture  was  over  it.  They  had 
a  lovely  large  room. 

That  picture  being? 

That's  a  Twachtman.   Yes,  that's  the  most  valuable  thing  I  own. 
There  were  two  fireplaces  in  the  house,  and  this  painting  was 
over  the  fireplace  up  in  their  bedroom.   Downstairs  was  a 
beautiful  large  living  room,  and  over  the  fireplace  was  Albert 


Pinkham  Ryder's  "Tempest,"  now  in  the  Detroit  Museum.   And  there 
were  lots  of  Hassams  in  the  house,  and  beautiful  Chinese  rugs. 

Pops  just  loved  every  kind  of  art  medium,  whether  it  was 
Greek  coins  or  textiles  or  Impressionist  paintings. 

Riess:     It  sounds  like  he  liked  luxury. 

Caldwell:   I  never  thought  of  it  that  way.   I'd  say  rather  quality,  except 
for  those  inferior  hotels  they  stayed  in!  He  loved  good  food, 
and  he  loved  quality.  He  didn't  like  luxury  in  the  sense  of 
just  spending  money  on  fashionable  places  to  dine,  but  he 
enjoyed  good  food  and  we  used  to  go  to  Coppa's  Restaurant  a 
great  deal  in  San  Francisco,  off  of  California  Street.   Coppa's 
was  extremely  sympathetic  to  the  economic  plight  of  artists.   He 
would  give  them  food  in  exchange  for  paintings,  which  lined  the 
walls  of  the  restaurant. 

Riess:     That's  the  old  Bohemian  San  Francisco,  isn't  it? 

Caldwell:   That's  right.  And  as  I  say,  we  used  to  go  there  to  lunch  very 
often,  and  Pops  was  very  fond  of  it.  Quality  is  the  thing.  He 
couldn't  bear  to  ever  be  given  any  oil  that  wasn't  olive  oil. 
But  one  day  we  went  in  there ,  and  they  gave  him  a  salad  with 
Vesson  oil.  He  was  outraged.  He  put  down  his  fork,  he  pushed 
back  his  chair,  and  he  threw  down  his  napkin  and  walked  out, 
because  he'd  been  given  salad  that  didn't  have  olive  oil. 

Riess:     That's  dramatic,  isn't  it? 

Caldwell:  He  rarely  showed  any  temper,  but  the  idea  that  in  an  old 

restaurant  where  he  was  a  habitue  that  anybody  would  insult  him 
like  that!   I  was  just  aghast. 

Riess:     When  you  talked  about  ambivalence  about  all  the  people  who  were 
around  Sara  and  the  Colonel,  did  Sara  want  to  get  away? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  they  loved  people;  they  could  never  become  hermits,  ever. 
They  were  much  sought  after,  and  they  entertained  beautifully, 
and  with  warmth,  and  with  an  enormously  exciting  kind  of  a- -both 
an  intimacy  and  on  the  larger  scale  of  dinner  parties. 

Riess:     Your  mother  and  the  Colonel  were  such  passionate  people,  as 
expressed  in  their  letters. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  they  were,  my  mother  particularly,  that's  true.   She  felt 
everything  very,  very  deeply.   I've  been  so  interested  in 
reading  a  lot  of  letters  in  connections  with  social  problems, 
and  they  are  always  passionate  about  whatever  the  issue  may  be. 


Riess:     Is  her  "voice,"  as  it  were,  in  the  letters,  the  sane  as  it  was 
in  reality? 

Caldwell:   Yes- -very  definitely.   She  was  very  emotional,  but  she  was  also 
a  very  intellectual  person.   I  know  there  was  some  writer  who 
criticized  her  emotionality,  but  1  think  that  was  unfair  because 
she  had  an  interesting  combination  of  emotion  and  intellect.   I 
think  she  had  an  ability  to  think  out  her  reasons  very  clearly 
for  espousing  a  cause.   It  wasn't  Just  a  gut-level  thing  at  all. 

Los  Gatos .  and  the  Mareneos 

Caldwell:   They  did  want  to  do  their  writing,  that's  why  they  said  they 

wanted  to  leave  the  city.   And  when  they  went  to  Los  Gatos,  they 
put  on  their  stationery,  "Visits  by  appointment  only."  But 
then,  of  course,  what  happened  was  that  the  people  who  were 
callous  and  unthoughtful  would  pay  no  attention  and  drop  in,  and 
for  this  reason  they  built  the  little  studio,  which  was  about  an 
eighth  of  a  mile  distant  from  the  house,  up  the  hill.   Then  the 
housekeeper  could  honestly  say,  "No,  they're  not  at  home."  That 
was  the  reason,  they  said,  that  they  built  it. 

They  would  go  up- -I  think  I  mentioned  this  before- -with  a 
basket  of  fruit,  and  French  bread  and  Monterey  jack  cheese,  and 
some  wine,  and  they'd  go  to  their  separate  rooms  in  the  studio, 
and  then  would  meet  for  lunch. 

You  know,  thinking  back  on  those  twenty  or  so  years  at  Los 
Gatos,  what  an  ideal  life  it  was!   I  never  thought  of  it  as 
luxurious.   I  never  thought  of  my  stepfather  as  a  wealthy  man, 
or  that  this  was  a  luxurious  life.   I  thought,  "Well,  they  live 
this  way,  but  other  people  have  other  styles."   I  didn't  think 
of  it  as  unusual  until  I  was  much,  much  older. 

Riess:     Vere  the  Marengos  always  part  of  the  Los  Gatos  life? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Vincent  came  to  the  United  States  as  a  very  young  man, 

adolescent,  a  poor  immigrant  from  Italy.  And  so  was  Mary.  He 
got  employment  at  the  novitiate,  the  Catholic  establishment 
across  the  way  from  Mother  and  Pops'  place,  picking  grapes  and 
learning  how  to  make  wine . 

He  never  was  given  any  education  [by  the  novitiate],  and  it 
was  an  educational  institution!  His  bitterness  against  the 
Catholic  church  cannot  be  exaggerated,  because  they  didn't 
educate  him.  A  highly  intelligent  man. 


When  the  Second  World  War  came,  and  wages  went  up- -of 
course,  they  were  working  on  a  very  small  salary,  pre-war  wages, 
for  Mother  and  Pops,  who  later  financed  a  lovely  house  for  them 
when  they  retired- -the  bitterness  was  increased  about  his 

Riess :     And  he  was  with  your  family  how  long? 
Caldwell:  Thirty  years. 

How  they  first  met  I'm  not  sure,  but  Mother  and  Pops  needed 
help  on  the  place,  and  I  think  he  came  first  just  by  the  day,  or 
something  like  that.   I'm  just  hazarding  this  as  what  happened. 
And  then  he  was  offered  that  full-time  job. 

He  was  not  married  to  Mary  then;  she  was  married  to  another 
man,  who  treated  her  outrageously,  and  by  whom  she'd  had  her 
children.   She  finally  got  a  divorce,  and  I  think  Pops  helped 
her  on  that.   She  was  very  frightened  of  this  other  man,  very 
timid.  Vincent  loved  her  very  much,  and  they  were  married,  and 
then  they  came  to  live  in  the  house  which  Mother  and  Pops  had 
built  a  short  distance  from  their  own  house.   They  were  just  the 
most  marvelous  people. 

People:  Noel  Sullivan 

Riess:     Tell  me  about  Noel  Sullivan.  You  knew  him? 

Caldwell:   I  knew  him  and  loved  him  very,  very  much.  He  was  one  of  the 

most  impressive  human  beings  I've  ever  known.   He  was  a  man  who 
was  born  to  great  wealth.   I  knew  a  lot  of  wealthy  people 
through  Mother  and  Pops,  but  I'd  never  known  a  man  who  accepted 
it  as  a  way  of  life,  that  is  to  say,  not  having  to  prove  himself 
in  a  profession  or  a  business.   He  spent  his  life  in  music.   Of 
course,  he  had  a  very  good  voice,  beautiful  bass  voice.  He 
would  entertain  his  friends . 

He  was  not  sufficiently  gifted  musically  to  be  in  the  big 
time,  but  he  spent  his  life  devoted  to  helping  other  people, 
particularly  blacks.   He  was  extremely  fond  of  black  people. 
Marian  Anderson,  he  helped  in  her  education,  and  Langs ton 
Hughes,  and  so  on- -not  that  Langston  was  a  musician.   For  the 
most  part,  he  identified  himself  with  music  and  musicians,  but 
he  helped  any  black  person  of  talent. 


He  always  lived  very  lavishly,  and  when  my  husband  and  1 
were  engaged,  he  gave  us  the  most  beautiful  party  in  San 
Francisco.  That  was  during  what  I  call  my  Italian  phase,  and 
Noel  had  lived  in  Italy  part  of  the  time.   I  loved  the  Italian 
language  and  Italian  people.  For  the  party  he  had  Italian  music 
and  Italian  friends,  Italian  food,  and  a  beautiful,  beautiful 
table  set  with  Italian  dishes. 

So  we  were  very  close  to  him.  But  on  the  other  hand,  I 
hated  the  idea  of  being  indebted  to  people  who  were  very 
wealthy.   He  used  to  offer  us  tickets  to  the  opera,  and  I 
declined  them,  because  I  thought  we  could  never  reciprocate. 
Later  on  he  used  to  invite  us  down  to  visit  him  in  Carmel  in  the 
little  cottage  he  had  there,  or  let  us  have  it  for  ourselves. 

And  finally,  when  my  husband  went  on  sabbatical  leave,  Noel 
took  our  dog.   He  was  passionately  fond  of  dogs.   He  had  maybe 
ten  dogs  around.   The  only  unaesthetic  thing  in  Noel's  life  was 
the  fact  he'd  let  the  dogs  wander  under  the  table  while  we  were 
eating,  and  they'd  drool  on  ladies'  stockings.   We  couldn't 
understand  how  he  could  endure  this.  But  anyway,  you  can  see 
from  these  incidents  what  a  dear  friend  he  was. 

I  have  a  beautiful  picture  of  Noel  that  I  keep  thinking  I 
should  give  to  the  Carmel  Valley  Manor,  the  retirement  place. 
Noel's  heir  sold  the  estate- -farm,  I  should  say- -he  had  down  in 
the  Carmel  Valley,  and  it  became  Carmel  Valley  Manor.   There's 
his  little  chapel  still  there  that  they  kept. 

I  associate  Noel  first,  however,  with  San  Francisco.  Jim 
and  I  were  living  in  Berkeley,  and  I  met  him  in  San  Francisco, 
when  Mother  and  Pops  were  living  in  San  Francisco  on  Broadway 
and  Taylor.   I  remember  he  used  to  come  to  dinner  in  the 
Broadway  house,  and  of  course,  we  all  knew  that  he  was  not 
interested  in  women  sexually,  but  women  all  fell  in  love  with 
him.   I  used  to  dream  about  what  a  beautiful  person  Noel  was, 
but  we  all  knew  that  this  was  not  his  interest. 

Riess:     I  am  intrigued  with  a  statement  like  "we  all  knew." 

Caldwell:   It  was  talked  about,  speculated  about,  whether  he  had  any 

particular  man  as  his  interest  at  the  time.   Never  quite  knew 
about  that. 


Poetry  Talk 

Riess:     In  the  "Afterword"  you  say  that  poetry  drew  you  and  your  mother 
together,  and  that  discussions  of  poetry  were  an  accompaniment 
to  nearly  every  meal. 

Caldwell:   I  think  we  need  to  edit  this,  because  it's  not  quite  accurate. 
My  point  is  that  she  brought  me  up  by  reading  poetry  when  I  was 
very  young,  being  reminded  of  a  poem  by  a  situation  we  were  in, 
out  in  nature,  or  something  of  that  kind.  But  at  the  meal  we 
were  simply- -Mother  and  Pops  were  both  working  on  manuscripts, 
and  that's  what  was  discussed  at  the  meal,  their  manuscripts.   I 
think  it's  very  important  to  know  that.   We  didn't  just  sit  down 
and  read  poetry  at  dinner.   Not  at  all. 

Riess:     How  would  they  discuss  their  manuscripts  at  the  meal? 

Caldwell:  Well,  one  of  them  might  have  a  question  about  phraseology,  or 
length  of  expression  or  something. 

Riess:     And  they  were  each  other's  critics? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  that's  right.   And  my  mother  always  treated  me  as  an  adult, 
however  young--!  don't  mean  before  I  was  a  teenager,  but  say 
from  the  time  of  fifteen  years  old,  she  always  treated  me  as  if 
my  opinion  mattered. 

But  no,  that  was  the  thing.   They  really  were  revising  and 
editing,  sort  of,  at  the  dinner  table.  And  it  happened 
frequently.   I  particularly  remember  when  my  mother  was  writing 
Barabbas .   She  did  lots  of  research  on  that,  she  got  lots  of 
scholarly  help  on  it.  That  was  later,  when  Jim  was  a  member  of 
our  family,  and  she  had  so  many  things  she  wanted  to  try  out  on 
us,  you  see. 

That's  another  thing:  it  was  often  a  matter  of  asking  one 
of  the  members  of  the  family  what  they  thought  about  various 
portions,  whether  they  should  be  included,  that  kind  of  thing. 
I'm  sure  you  must  understand,  as  a  literary  person  yourself. 

Riess:     Many  artists  and  writers  labor  alone. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  that  is  perfectly  true.   A  lot  of  creative  people  feel  that 
they  are  diluting  their  creative  energy  by  discussing  the  work 
in  progress. 

And  then  sometimes  Pops  would  read  us  one  short  poem  that 
he  just  finished,  or  something  like  that. 







And  would  you  feel  free  to  criticize,  or  say  it  didn't  strike  a 
chord  with  you? 

I  would  have  been  more  likely  to  have  commented  if  I  liked  it. 
Maybe  not  said  anything  if  it  didn't  hit  me. 

Always  a  discreet  approach. 

No,  I'm  very  outspoken.  You  ought  to  ask  my  doctor  [laughs]. 
Very  outspoken.   But  it  was  largely  either  I  thought  maybe  if  I 
were  more  acquainted  with  it  I'd  like  it  better  after  a  while, 
or  I  didn't  want  to  offend- -one  or  the  other.  About  Barabbas . 
even  to  this  day  I  do  not  find  it  as  accessible,  as  compatible, 
as  Mother's  other  poems.   I  find  it  labored. 

I  feel  so  sorry,  I  never  would  have  wanted  her  to  know  how 
little  that  poem  that  meant  so  much  to  her  to  write- -she  just 
wrote  it  from  her  heart,  and  I  never--.  Jim  and  I--it  was  very 
difficult  for  us,  because  we  didn't  want  to  be  negative  and 
critical,  but  neither  of  us  were  attracted  to  it. 

And  she  didn't  sense  that? 

I  don't  think  she  did.   She  was  very  much  absorbed  in  the 
construction  of  it  and  the  research  on  it. 

And  that  was  published  in  1932. 

Pale  Woman? 

It  seems  to  me  she  sent  me  the  proofs  of  that  when  I  was  at 
Radcliffe.   I  think  that  was  then.   I  haven't  the  chronology 
very  clearly  in  mind. 

That  would  make  sense,  1927. 
suggest  changes? 

In  reading  the  proofs  would  you 

Oh,  occasionally.   I  can't  remember  what  they  were.   I  might 
have,  yes.   Occasionally  I  would  make  suggestions. 

That  was  also  true  of  Genevieve  Taggard.   She  treated  me 
always  as  an  adult  about  her  work,  too.   I  appreciated  that.   I 
didn't  think  about  it  too  much  at  the  time;  I  just  assumed 
that's  the  way  it  was. 


Sara  and  Colonel  Wood  as  a  Couple 

Riess:     When  you  look  back  at  Sara  and  Pops,  do  you  think  of  them  as  an 
ideal  couple? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  do,  absolutely.  Unbelievable.   The  only  time  I  ever 
remember  Pops  being  angry  at  Mother  was  because  she  was 
sneaking- -the  doctor  thought  she  shouldn't  touch  coffee,  with 
her  colitis,  and  he  found  she  was  drinking  some  coffee.   But 
that's  the  only  time  I've  ever  known  him  to  explode  with  anger 
at  her.   They  had  their  disagreements  on  a  number  of  topics,  and 
very,  very  intense  discussions,  but  there  was  never  any 
animosity  or  unresolved  feelings,  you  know.  An  intense  feeling 
of  each  one's  cause,  but  no  animosity,  nothing  negative  left 
over  from  it,  no  residue. 

Riess:     Do  you  think  they  had  some  particular  insights? 

Caldwell:   Well,  of  course,  it's  particularly  surprising  on  the  part  of 
Colonel  Wood,  because  he  had  had  so  many  affairs,  and  so  many 
fine  people,  and  he  wasn't--.   I've  often  thought,  it's 
interesting,  of  the  men  I  have  known  well  I  have  never  known  any 
that  ever  had  anything  to  do  with  a  prostitute!  Their  early 
sexual  adventures  were  with  people  of  their  own  class,  so  to 
speak.   So  when  I  say  he  had  all  these  affairs,  I  didn't  mean  in 
a  trivial  way. 

Pops  used  to  laugh  and  say  as  a  young  officer  he  would  be 
stationed  somewhere,  in  an  officer's  home,  and  the  wife  would 
sneak  into  his  room  and  say,  "You  know,  my  husband  never 
satisfies  me.   Can  I  get  in  bed  with  you?"  That  kind  of  thing. 
He  was  terribly,  terribly  attractive. 

But  my  point --and  this  is  not  as  irrelevant  to  your 
question  as  you  might  have  thought--!  think  that  for  all  he  had 
lots  of  liaisons  with  extremely  intelligent  people- -and  there 
was  one  woman  in  particular  in  Portland,  also  a  married  woman,  a 
very,  very  wealthy  woman,  with  whom  he  used  to  exchange  the  most 
extravagant  presents  of  beautifully-bound,  leather-bound  books, 
with  wonderful  inscriptions- -I  think  that  Pops  had  never  had  a 
relationship  with  a  woman  that  was  so  fulfilling  in  so  many 
ways .   I  think  that  it  was  a  revelation  to  him  that  he  could 
have  a  relationship  like  that  [which  he  had  with  my  mother] . 

He  was  a  lot  older  then,  but  he  was  not  old  in  the  way  of 
being  attracted  to  women  and  women  to  him,  and  I  think  it  was  a 
discovery  of  a  kind  of  completeness  of  relationship  he  had  never 
had  before.   And  of  course,  for  Mother,  he  was  just  everything 


to  her.   The  result  was  a  relationship  that  just  seemed  to  be 
almost  ideal.   1  loved  being  with  them.   There  was  a  real  love 
and  respect  and  comfortable  feeling  between  them  always. 

I  remember  how  hard  it  was  on  my  mother  when  he  was  very, 
very  old,  and  near  death.  We  urged  her  to  have  a  nurse,  but  she 
felt  she  should  not  delegate  his  care  to  a  stranger.   1  remember 
once  she  was  overwrought,  and  said  she  was  cross,  and  she  felt 
so  sorry  about  it.   She  felt  she  had  committed  the  sin  of  sins 
to  have  spoken  to  him  sharply.  He  was  hard  to  take  care  of,  but 
I  remember  how  awful  she  felt  that  she  had  ever  lost  her  temper! 

My  own  father,  knowing  Pops  had  had  so  many  affairs,  felt 
my  mother  was  just  another  person  to  be  cast  aside.   And  he 
didn't  want  my  brother  and  me  to  be  exposed  to  the  philosophy  of 
a  person  seemingly  so  casual  about  sexual  matters.   I  think  that 
it  must  have  been  an  absolute  amazement  to  my  father  that  this 
relationship  lasted. 

I  was  unfortunately  abroad  when  my  father  died.   His  second 
wife- -I  immediately  went  to  stay  with  her  for  a  few  days  when  I 
came  back.   She  told  me  that  his  dying  words  were,  "Tell  Sara  1 
forgive  her."   I  think  he  must  have  realized  that  there  was  more 
to  the  relationship  than  just  a  casual  sexual  attraction.   It 
was  a  really  affinitive  thing.  While  it  was  hurtful  to  him  that 
she  never  came  back  to  him,  nevertheless  I  thought  in  that 
statement  there  was  a  recognition  of  a  relationship  that  was 
more  than  just  a  physical  one. 

Sara's  Bout  with  Colitis.  1923 

Riess:     In  terms  of  the  chronology  of  this  story,  we  have  talked  about 
the  trip  to  Europe,  but  not  fully.  Wasn't  that  precipitated  by 
a  need  to  think  about  what  kind  of  a  life  they  wanted  to  lead? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  their  original  purpose  was  to  become  permanent  expatriates, 
not  to  come  back  at  all.   But  I  think  that  they  didn't  like--. 
Of  course,  we  went  to  Italy  when  Mussolini  was  in  control.   But 
Pops  had  never  been  abroad.  He'd  sent  his  children  abroad,  but 
he'd  never  been.   So  I  think  it  was  partly  a  desire  to  see  what 
Italy  was  like,  and  maybe  for  the  privacy,  I  don't  know. 

Riess:     After  September  17,  1923,  and  the  fire,  you  were  living  in  San 
Francisco.  Were  plans  underway  already  for  the  trip? 


Caldwell:   Oh,  no,  there's  a  long  time  in  between  there.   My  mother  was 

very  ill.  She  had  this  awful  colitis.  Of  course,  we  now  know 
it  was  probably  psychosomatic •-not  that  that  isn't  very  real. 
But  she  had  it.  A  dentist  decided  that  if  she  had  all  her  teeth 
removed- -there  was  pus  or  something  at  the  roots- -it  would  solve 
it.   She  went  to  the  hospital  and  she  had  all  her  teeth  cut  out. 

Riess :     And  in  fact  her  teeth  were  bad? 

Caldwell:  Yes.  And  it  didn't  do  a  damn  thing  about  her  colitis,  but  it 

almost  killed  her.   She  was  in  a  coma  so  that  one  day  the  doctor 
came  with  a  death  certificate,  expecting  her  to  die  that  day. 
And  we  had  a  nurse  around  the  clock. 

This  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  breakdown.   But  it  was  then 
that  Pops  and  I  became  so  very  close,  so  very,  very  close. 

Riess:     When  you  think  back,  could  you  have  anticipated  some  crisis  in 
the  works? 

Caldwell:   No,  this  was  a  physical  thing. 

Riess:     I  know,  but  you  were  said  that  it  was  probably  psychosomatic. 

Caldwell:   Oh  no,  no.   This  is  my  mature  knowledge  of  medicine  and 

psychology.   No.   See,  my  mother  was  always  ailing,  in  one  way 
or  another,  and  always  thought  she  was  going  to  die.   And  then 
she  lived  to  be  ninety- two  years  of  age.   She  always  thought  she 
had  heart  trouble ,  which  she  did  not  have . 

In  any  case,  obviously  she  survived  this,  and  then  it  was 
after  that  that  we  went  to  Europe,  you  see.   And  meanwhile  they 
had  made  negotiations  about  land  down  in  Los  Gatos. 

Riess:     This  illness  precipitated  planning  to  get  out  of  town? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  don't  think  so.   No,  the  illness  was  separate;  it  had  no 
relationship  to  anything  else. 

Riess:     From  that  point  on,  she  had  false  teeth? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  and  I  was  simply  horrified.   I  have  a  horror  to  this  day, 
and  here  I  am,  eighty- six,  with  all  my  own  teeth  except  two!   I 
have  taken  care  of  my  teeth  with  tender  solicitation. 

Also  it  altered  her  appearance,  you  see,  because  it  does 
kind  of  cave  in  your  Jaw  a  bit.   Her  sister,  who  was  very 
jealous  of  her,  Mary  Parton,  said,  "Erskine  doesn't  want  Sara  to 


be  attractive  to  other  men,  and  he's  decided  to  have  this  done 
to  her  to  deface  her." 

I  was  so  shocked  at  this  cynical  remark.  Of  course,  that 
was  not  true  at  all.  He  wanted  to  try  to  overcome  her  terrible 
pain,  discomfort  over  the  colitis.   Anyway,  it  didn't  do 
anything  about  the  colitis,  and  from  then  on  I  was  just 
horrified  at  this  idea. 

To  Italy.  January  1924 

Riess:     When  did  you  go  to  Europe? 

Caldwell:   We  went  in  January  or  February  to  Italy. 

Riess:     Was  there  a  lot  of  planning? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  they  planned  quite  carefully,  and  must  have  made 
investigations  about  this  lovely  place  we  went  to. 

We  took  heaven  knows  how  many  pieces  of  baggage  with  us, 
and  great  strong  trunks.   The  idea  was  that  we  were  going  to 
stay  indefinitely. 

I  don't  know  where  they  heard  about  this  lovely  place 
called  Cocumela  in  Sorrento  on  the  Bay  of  Naples,  not  very  far 
from  Naples.   Cocumela  was  a  monastery  that  had  been  converted 
into  a  pensione,  and  had  a  beautiful  citrus  garden,  orchard.   It 
was  right  on  the  cliffs  overlooking  the  Bay  of  Naples.   When  we 
went  there  we  went  in  a  motorboat  from  Naples,  and  then  they 
came  out  with  rowboats  and  we  stepped  into  the  rowboat  and  were 
rowed  to  shore,  and  walked  up  a  winding  path  through  the  cliff 
up  to  this  beautiful  garden.  And  there  we  stayed  for  some 
months .   Beautiful  place . 

Riess:     Had  planning  begun  for  The  Cats? 

Caldwell:  I  think  they  must  have  bought  the  land,  but  I'm  unsure  exactly 
whether  they  had  made  a  firm  contract  on  it  or  not,  or  whether 
they  did  that  later. 

Riess:     So  there  was  that  foothold  in  America. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  yes.   That's  true.   It  sounds  so  ambivalent,  and  it  was 
in  a  way.  On  the  one  hand,  they  had  the  Los  Gatos  property  in 
mind;  on  the  other,  they  had  gone  for  an  indefinite  time. 



They  were  very  happy  abroad.  We  lived  in  a  lovely  place. 
They  had  a  huge  room.   I  had  my  own  room,  too,  with  a  balcony 
looking  right  off  to  the  Bay  of  Naples.   I  used  to  be  so 
astonished  at  how  they  could  happily  spend  many  hours  in  the 
morning,  each  of  them  writing,  because  I'm  not  a  contemplative 

It  was  hard  on  me  in  terms  of  any  kind  of- -I  had  no 
organization  in  my  life.   I  tried  hard  to  find  somebody  to  teach 
me  Italian,  but  I  couldn't  find  anybody  who  really  was  skilled 
at  this.   I  had  a  lovely  time  socially,  because  there  were  lots 
of  people  and  we  danced  every  evening  after  dinner,  and  I 
enjoyed  that  and  went  on  little  excursions.   But  I  had  this 
uneasy  feeling  I  wasn't  being  educated. 

Was  there  an  itinerary? 

No,  just  as  the  mood  suggested. 


Riess:     You  said  earlier  that  you  were  working  on  languages  in  a  school 
in  Berkeley. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  wanted  to  know  French,  but  we  went  to  Italy!   And  then  I 
felt  I  shouldn't  learn  Italian,  that  it  would  spoil  my  French! 

The  first  word  I  learned  in  Italian  was  "thief,"  because  I 
discovered  that  the  taxi  driver,  horse -and -buggy  driver,  had 
advanced  the  meter  beyond  the  legal  standards  and  put  his  coat 
over  it.   I  saw  he  was  overcharging  them.   So  "Ladro!"  I  would 
say,  "Thief!"   If  I'd  been  a  man,  he  would  have  knocked  me  flat, 
but  as  a  young  woman  he  couldn't  do  that.   [laughs]   I  learned 
enough  Italian  to  communicate.  Very  ungrammatically. 

Riess:     Languages,  was  that  what  the  school  specialized  in? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no.  They  didn't  specialize  in  language,  they  just  had  very 
fine  teachers ,  and  classes  of  two  and  three .  They  had  a  man  who 
was  a  T.A.  at  Berkeley,  or  maybe  even  assistant  professor,  who 
needed  to  pick  up  a  little  more  money.  They  had  wonderful 
teachers.   And  I  learned  French  idioms--. 

I  never  learned  to  pronounce  French  properly.   I  had  quite 
good  training  at  Berkeley  High  School ,  but  my  teacher  was 
getting  a  Ph.D.  at  Stanford,  and  was  American.   And  the  woman  in 


the  private  school  was  German.   So  I  never  really  was  exposed  to 
a  bona  fide  French  accent.  But  I  learned  my  idioms  from  that 
German  woman,  which  have  stood  me  in  good  stead. 

When  I  was  at  Radcliffe  you  had  to  have  a  reading  knowledge 
of  French  and  German  to  graduate.   They  had  an  exam  once  a  year 
that  you  could  take --you  could  take  it  any  year.  And  it  wasn't 
a  matter  of  being  graded:  you  passed  or  failed.   I  went  in  one 
time,  and  I  thought  I  hadn't  done  well  and  didn't  want  to  turn 
the  paper  in.  They  made  me  do  it,  and  I  passed  it,  and  I  hadn't 
looked  at  French  since  1  was  in  high  school.   That  was  really 
quite  good,  I  thought.  But  really,  I  had  wonderful  teachers  at 
Berkeley  High  School. 

Seeing  Art,  and  Life,  in  Europe  with  Poos 

Riess:     Europe  was  your  real  introduction  to  art? 

Caldwell:  No,  my  introduction  to  art  was  at  the  Art  Institute  in  Chicago, 
and  with  Pops.   I  used  to  go  [with  him]  in  San  Francisco  to  the 
market;  he  loved  to  go  to  the  vegetable  and  fruit  markets.   And 
he'd  say,  "Oh,  now  you  see  that  fruit,  it  looks  just  the  way 
Manet  would  paint  it,"  and  so  on.   No,  I  got  my  interest  in  art 
as  such,  over  and  above  representation,  from  my  conversations 
with  Pops,  and  the  beautiful  works  of  art  in  the  house,  the 
Ryder  in  the  living  room,  Twachtman's  "Harbor  Scene"  in  the 
master  bedroom,  a  still -life  by  Hassam  in  the  dining  room. 

Not  that  everyone  takes  to  it.   I  notice  it  with  my  own  son 
and  daughter.  My  daughter  was  very  responsive  to  art,  and  my 
son  has  no  art  discrimination.  He  was  more  interested  in  music 
and  knows  much  more  about  music  than  any  of  us  in  the  family. 
That  was  the  art  that  he  responded  to.   But  visually,  no.   And 
they  both  grew  up  in  the  same  environment. 

Pops  would  talk  about  Ryder,  for  example.   I  just  loved 
Albert  Pinkham  Ryder,  the  great  American  painter,  from  the  time 
I  was  in  my  teens ,  because  here  were  these  beautiful  pictures  in 
the  house  that  he  talked  about.   So  I  looked  at  pictures  not  as 
representation,  but  as  an  expression  of  a  great  creativity.   The 
idea  was  that  a  work  of  art  was  something  that  you  tried  to  look 
at  through  the  eyes  of  the  artist,  not  from  the  point  of  view  of 

To  my  great  joy  Pops  gave  me  a  Ryder  painting,  "The 
Lorelei."  The  whole  family,  Jim,  Sara  and  Dan,  responded  to  the 


magic  of  that  picture. 
York  City. 

It  is  now  in  a  private  collection  in  New 

But  not  until  I  got  to  college  did  I  take  any  courses  in 
the  history  of  art.   Until  then  my  art  education  had  been  very 
haphazard.  Because  Pops  liked  the  Impressionists  I  was  much 
more  aware  of  them,  and  then  if  you're  in  Italy,  the  Italian 

Also  he  was  crazy  about  Greek  art,  and  I  remember  going  to 
the  National  Gallery  in  Rome  with  him,  and  his  pointing  out  how 
beautifully  sculptural  their  feet  were,  because  they  weren't 
confined  in  ugly  shoes .   I  looked  at  feet  in  quite  a  different 
way.   I  had  thought  they  were  ugly,  sort  of  smelly  things,  and 
here  they  were ,  these  beautiful  sculptures . 

Riess:     He  sounds  like  a  wonderful  eye-opener. 

Caldwell:   Veil,  you  see,  he  enjoyed  what  he  was  doing,  no  matter  what  it 
was.   He  was  absorbed.   Nowadays,  that's  what  the  Zen  people 
urge,  that  you  live  in  the  moment.   He  had  that  extraordinary 
ability  to  enjoy  whatever  he  was  doing.   So  that  when  this  awful 
news  came  about  the  IRS,  I  had  never  seen  him  so  depressed,  you 
see,  and  he  was  the  most  positive  and  affirmative  person. 

Riess :     You  were  in  Sorrento  for  the  winter  and  the  spring? 

Caldwell:   I'd  have  to  figure  the  exact  chronology,  because  we  did  then  do 
some  traveling.  They  went  down  to  Sicily  to  see  the  Greek 
plays,  and  Mother  tells  a  lot  about  that  in  her  oral  history. 

I  wasn't  interested  in  Greek  plays,  and  it  seemed  to  me  if 
I  were  going  to  be  educated  I  had  to  go  back  to  Rome.   So  it  was 
arranged  that  I  would  go  /back  and  stay  at  a  French  convent  not 
far  from  the  Spanish  Steps.  The  nuns  were  distressed  by  my 
failure  to  genuflect  and  to  make  the  sign  of  the  cross,  and 
although  I  tried  to  conceal  my  agnosticism,  each  morning  a  nun 
would  kneel  by  my  bed  in  prayer. 

I  made  all  the  arrangements  for  Mother  and  Pops's  hotel  in 
Rome  when  they  came  back  from  Sicily.   I  really  and  truly  was 
very  competent,  much  better  than  I  am  now.   The  idea  now  of 
traveling  alone  is  just  unthinkable.  Well,  that's  partly 
because  of  my  dependence  on  a  cane  and  so  on.   I  was  very 
self-confident;  it  never  occurred  to  me  I  couldn't  handle  any 

What  I  did  in  Rome  was  to  simply  sight-see,  which  was 
difficult  as  a  young  woman  alone  because  I  would  be  pursued  like 


an  animal.   I  remember  once  just  running,  with  a  man  running 
after  me,  and  grabbing  a  cab- -only  the  cab  was  a  carozza,  not  a 
motor  vehicle. 

I  knew  a  young  man  who  was  at  the  American  Academy  in  Rome 
who  was  an  American,  and  I  got  an  elderly--!  couldn't  get  out  of 
the  convent  at  night,  you  know,  without  some  kind  of 
chaperonage ,  so  I  somehow  or  other  got  hold  of  an  old  woman  who 
would  come  and  get  me  out,  and  then  I'd  meet  this  man  from  the 
American  Academy.   It  was  never  a  romance,  but  Just  such  a  nice 

Riess:     You  must  really  enjoy  the  Henry  James  novels  of  that  world. 
Caldwell:   Yes,  I  do.   I've  just  been  reading  The  Golden  Bowl . 
Riess:     Anyway  then,  after  that,  you  had  to  go  home. 

Caldwell:   I'm  not  sure  where  we  were  when  we  heard.   It  seems  to  me  the 
news  came  to  us  in  Sorrento,  but  I  may  be  wrong  about  that, 
because  we  stayed  abroad  and  we  went  to  Rome ,  and  we  went  to 
Venice,  and  also  to  Paris  and  London,  briefly. 

I  have  some  pewter  plates  downstairs  in  this  house  that  we 
bought,  and  as  we  were  getting  out  of  the  gondola  they  were 
dropped  in  the  canal,  and  a  diver  went  and  got  them.   I  think 
probably  they  were  dropped  on  purpose  so  the  diver  could  be  paid 
to  retrieve  them- -I  don't  know.   But  I  still  have  those  pewter 
plates.   And  I  remember  going  again  on  art  tours  with  Pops  in 
Venice . 

Riess:     Sara  would  stay  home  on  those  art  tours? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  ever  remember  her  going  with  us.   Not  that  she  didn't 
like  art;  she  did.   But  my  energy  was  boundless.   It's  pretty 
much  that  way  now,  except  that  because  of  my  arthritis  I  don't 
get  around  as  well.   But  my  energy  level  is  high.   Her  energy 
level  was  really  quite  low.   I  think  she'd  also  rather  stay  home 
and  read  a  book. 

Paris:  Frugality.  Ezra  Pound.  Ulysses 

Riess:     You  went  with  them  to  Paris? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  we  went  to  Paris,  and  we  went  to  London,  too,  but  we  stayed 
a  little  bit  longer  in  Paris.   I  wanted  very  much  to  learn 


French,  and  I  stayed  in  a  school  for  a  couple  of  weeks.  Anyway, 
we  stayed  there  for  a  short  time. 

Pops  always  wanted  to  stay  in  these  awful  inns .  When  we 
went  to  Sicily  we  stayed  in  the  most  horrible  place,  and  we  got 
sick  because  of  it.   Pops  would  say,  "Why  waste  your  money?"  He 
was  so  extravagant  in  other  ways,  but,  "Why  waste  your  money  on 
shelter?"  He'd  spend  heaven-knows -what  at  a  restaurant,  but  he 
thought  a  good  hotel  was  a  waste  of  money- -the  only  suggestion 
of  frugality  I  ever  knew  on  his  part. 

Riess:     In  Paris  in  the  twenties- -did  you  meet  famous  people? 

Caldwell:   The  first  time  I  heard  of  Ulysses  was  when  we  visited  Ezra 

Pound.   Ezra  Pound  was  very  much  an  admirer  of  Joyce.   Anyway, 
when  we  went  to  see  Pound,  I  realized  he  was  a  very  important 
man.   What  1  remember- -and  Mother  didn't  remember  it  much  at 
all --he  sat  at  a  table  at  a  level  above  us,  almost  like  a  court 
room.   I  was  so  impressed!  He  talked  down  to  us,  literally! 

That's  all  I  remember,  and  the  mention  of  Ulysses .   And 
then  when  I  heard  that  it  [Ulysses  1  was  not  acceptable  in  the 
United  States,  I  thought,  "Mm,  I'll  put  one  in  the  bottom  of  my 
trunk,"  and  I  did.   I  didn't  read  it  until  much  later, 
interestingly  enough.  You  would  have  thought,  considering  the 
freedom  of  sexual  reference,  that  I  would,  but  I  just  loved  the 
idea  of  doing  something  to  outwit  the  censors. 

I  didn't  approve,  you  see.   I  didn't  approve  of  the 
government- -because  of  the  ideas  I  was  exposed  to- -censoring  it. 
It  was  not  because  it  was  a  pornographic  book,  but  it  was 
because  the  government  shouldn't  be  doing  this.   They  should  let 
people  read  what  they  want.  That  was  the  motivation.  Very 
serious--!  was  a  very  serious  person.   [laughs] 

Riess:     Did  Pops  know  that  you  had  the  book? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know  that  they  knew  or  not.   I  remember  putting  it  in 
the  very  bottom,  with  underwear  above  and  below.  And  they 
couldn't  very  well  go  through  a  steamer  trunk,  you  know.   I  have 
that  trunk  down  in  this  basement,  by  the  way,  I'm  trying  to  sell 
it  second-hand  now  and  get  it  out  of  my  basement. 

Riess:     And  do  you  still  have  that  edition  of  Ulvsses? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  don't.   I  have  a  Ulysses,  but  not  that  one.   I  don't  even 
know  what  happened  to  it;  I  must  have  given  it  to  someone. 









So  those  are  your  recollections  of  Pound? 

Just  this  man.   I  thought  it  was  humorous,  and  I  was  not 
impressed  with  the  majesty.   I  thought  this  was  an  astonishing 
way  to  receive  guests. 

Were  they  visiting  him  because  of  connections  in  the  poetry 
world,  or  the  political  world? 

I  don't  know.   She  [Sara  Bard  Field]  speaks  of  having  very 
little  memory  of  it.   Because  I  wanted  to  talk  to  you  about  my 
remembrance  of  it,  I  read  what  she  had  to  say.   And  [there  was] 
very  little  about  Paris. 

And  she  doesn't  mention  this  Bill  Somebody-or-other  who  was 
the  official,  very  much  interested  in  the  Soviet  Union,  in  our 
foreign  service,  a  man  who  impressed  me  because  he  was 
well-dressed  and  intelligent  and  a  man  of  the  world.   I  think  we 
had  dinner  in  their  beautiful  apartment.   Either  that  or  we  went 
to  the  apartment  after  having  dinner  at  a  restaurant.  Although 
1  don't  remember  going  to  restaurants  in  Paris  at  all. 

Were  Gertrude  Stein,  or  Leo  Stein,  connections  in  Paris? 

No,  not  at  all,  interestingly  enough.   Well,  Pops  wouldn't  have 
liked  Picasso  or  Braque.  He  just  hated  that,  just  the  way  I 
feel  now  about  what's  going  on  [in  art],  just  can't  understand 
such- -it  was  ugly. 

Did  you  go  to  galleries? 

I  only  remember  going  to  the  Louvre,  with  Pops, 
about  "The  Man  with  the  Glove,"  the  Titian? 


Did  I  tell  you 

Well,  we  were  wandering  around,  and  I  was  crazy  about  Titian,  I 
had  gotten  acquainted  with  his  work  in  Rome.   We  were  in  front 
of  this  picture--!  have  a  photograph  of  it  somewhere,  I  can't 
put  my  hand  on  it  now- -and  he  said,  "See  this  beautiful  young 
man  in  the  velvet  jacket  with  a  lace  collar  and  cuffs?  But  look 
at  his  gloves.   His  glove  is  torn.   If  you're  an  aristocrat,  it 
doesn't  matter  if  your  glove  is  torn."   [laughter]  This  was  the 
wonderful  combination  Pops  had  of  rich,  sensuous  enjoyment, 
along  with  the  political- -economic,  I  should  say. 


Discoveries  in  «  Diary.  1923 

Caldwell:  There  are  two  trips  to  Washington --this  is  what  I  have 

discovered.   There  was  the  trip  when  I  was  fifteen,  the  one  I 
described  before,  in  1921.  And  here's  another  one,  in  1923, 
prior  to  the  trip  to  Europe.   I  went  first  to  Chicago,  and  then 
to  Washington,  and  then  Mother  and  Pops  came  on  to  Washington. 
This  is  all  described  in  a  diary  that  I  recently  found] .  Then 
we  went  to  New  York  to  take  the  ship,  and  then  abroad.   The 
chronology  is  there.   It  tells  exactly  when  we  sailed,  and  so 

Riess:     Are  there  wonderful  things  to  read  into  the  oral  history  from 
the  diary? 

Caldwell:  No,  no,  it's  very  prosaic,  just  factual,  just  what  we  did,  you 
know.   Even  here:  "Sea  calm."   [laughs]   We  sailed  on  10th  of 
January,  1924. 

Riess:     I  can't  believe  it  is  all  prosaic.   Didn't  you  have  a  shipboard 

Caldwell:   Oh,  well,  there  was  a  young  man,  but  1  was  too  young  for  him.   f 
charming  Italian  who  flirted  with  me,  and  I  just  thought  that 
was  marvelous- -as  we  entered  the  Bay  of  Naples.   He  sang  an 
Italian  song.   But  I  was  much  too  young  for  this  sophisticated 
young  Italian. 

Riess:     Who  did  you  see  in  Chicago  on  that  second  trip? 

Caldwell:   Well,  here  it  is.   "I  left  the  Oakland  pier,"  it  says,  "at 

11:30,  alone.   Mother  and  Pops  said  goodbye  in  San  Francisco." 
And  then  I  describe  the  dreary,  barren  lands  that  we  passed 
through.  Then  "I  went  to  the  Lincoln  Park  Zoo  in  Chicago  and 
had  dinner  with  Lyd[ia]  and  Bob  Minor."  They  were  extremely 
radical  friends  of  my  mother  and  stepfather's. 

"I  went  to  a  number  of  museums  and  had  lunch  at  Marshall 
Field's  with  Mrs.  Van  Volkenburg."   (That  was  Mrs.  Maurice 
Browne.)  And  went  to  the  Art  Institute.   "Many  Corot  and 
Whistler  pictures."   "Accompanied  by  Margaret  Johannsen."  By 
the  way,  her  husband  was  an  extremely  radical  labor  leader  who 
was  involved  in  the  McNamara  case- -not  involved  in  the  case 
itself,  but  he  was  there  as  an  observer  of  the  trial. 

"Went  lobbying  with  Anita  Pulitzer  for  the  Lucretia  Mott 
amendment."  "Miss  Salas  from  the  Philippine  Islands  suffrage 
movement  dined  with  us." 


Surely  you  don't  want  all  this! 

And  then  "Mother  and  Pops  arrived  from  Chicago" --that  would 
be  December  24th,  1923.   "Celebrated  Christmas  there... went  to 
Freer  Gallery."  And  "went  to  Senator  La  Toilette's  house." 
Phil  La  Follette.   "Phil  La  Toilette's  wife  said  she'd  try  to 
get  me  a  Wisconsin  room."   (By  this  time  it  was  decided  I  would 
be  going  to  the  University  of  Wisconsin.) 

Riess:     And  that  is  different,  because  earlier  you  described  yourself 

still  deciding,  when  you  were  in  Europe,  whether  or  not  to  go  to 
the  Sorbonne . 

Caldwell:  Yes,  that's  true.  But  fundamentally  I  wanted  to  return  to  the 
USA  with  Mother  and  Pops. 

"We  lunched  with  Mrs.  Eugene  Meyer,  and  went  to  the 
Corcoran  Art  Gallery." 

Riess:     Whose  connection  was  Eugene  Meyer? 
Caldwell:   That  was  Pops' s,  definitely. 

Then  "We  left  Washington,  arrived  in  Baltimore,  Maryland, 
and  we  went  to  see  Pops's  old  home,  nearby."  And  we  went  to 
Doris  Stevens  and  Dudley  Malone's  for  dinner.   They  were  very 
prominent  in  politics  and  in  the  suffrage  movement  too. 

Riess:     Did  you  really  participate  in  all  of  this,  or  were  you  just 
little  Kay? 

Caldwell:   I  felt  pretty  much  myself.   I  was  quite  grown-up.   And  the 

things  we  did  were  all  adult  activities.  We  went  to  see  "Cyrano 
de  Bergerac"  in  the  evening. 

This  I  think  was  kind  of  amusing:  "Saw  Mrs.  Blumenthal's 
home  (palace)."   She  was  a  tremendously  wealthy  person.   "Dinner 
with  Zona  Gale" --she  was  a  famous  novelist  at  the  time.   "Dined 
with  the  La  Follettes  at  the  Waldorf." 

But  you  see,  these  are  just  factual  things,  not  any  comment 
really,  except  the  parenthetical  comment  about  Mrs.  Blumenthal's 
house . 

Riess:     Further  on,  are  there  reflections  on  your  decision  about 

Caldwell:  Not  anything.  I  was  impressed  with  the  fact  that  there  are  no 
reflections.  These  are  all  factual  records  of  what  we  did  and 
where  we  were . 


Rless:     You  were  impressed  that  you  were  so  disinclined  to  make  comment. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  I  wondered  about  that  as  I  read  this  over.   I  never 
referred  ever  to  any  of  my  feelings.  There  is  no  really 
personal  note  about  it  at  all.   Completely  objective.   Now, 
whether  that's  suppression- -I'm  not  sure. 

For  example,  here  we  are  at  the  Cocumela,  this  marvelous 
monastery  converted  to  a  pensione  where  we  stayed  for  quite  a 
number  of  months.  And  I  can  remember  the  things  I  did  there:  a 
group  of  American  art  students,  and  what  fun  I  had  with  them, 
but  no  mention  of  that  at  all.   I  was  marooned  with  these  young 
men  on  the  island  of  Capri,  we  couldn't  get  back  on  account  of  a 
storm,  and  we  danced  at  the  hotel,  and  I  remember  that  I  was  the 
only  one  that  had  traveler's  checks  and  temporarily  financed 
everybody.   Characteristic- -I've  always  been  so  anxious  to  have 
economic  security. 

I  was  a  frightfully,  frightfully  good  little  girl.   My 
father  filled  me  with  the  fear  of  God  about  pregnancy.   In  those 
days  one  did  not  sleep  with  somebody  at  the  drop  of  a  hat,  you 
know.   And  the  journal,  it  just  says  "Cocumela,"  "Cocumela," 
"Cocumela,"  each  day,  without  any  comment.   My  memories  of  it 
are  all  in  my  head,  not  on  paper. 

I  describe  the  motor  trip  we  took  up  and  down  the  coast  of 
Italy,  and  going  to  Sicily.   Now  there  was  a  most  interesting 
thing  that  happened  in  Sicily.   I  had  a  proposal  of  marriage 
from  a  student  I  met  casually  on  a  stroll  in  Taormina.   It  was 
most  amusing.   I  talk  about  the  places  we  had  gone  to,  the 
famous  Greek  temples  there,  but  it  was  extraordinary  that  I  said 
nothing  here  about  that  young  man- -he  practically  jumped  out  of 
the  bushes  when  I  was  walking  early  in  the  morning  to  go  see 
Mount  Etna.   But  I  didn't  say  a  word  in  this  journal! 

Riess:     [Riess  reading  diary.]   "Walked  the  streets  in  the  afternoon. 
Many  Titians,  Van  Dycks,  Rafaels."   "Left  London,  arrived 
Paris."  "Paris,"  "Paris,"  "Paris." 

September  13,  1924.   "Left  New  York  and  my  darling  family 
at  12:50."  "Arrived  Chicago,  went  to  Art  Institute,  and  had 
lunch  with  Nelly  [Ellen]  Van  Volkenburg."  September  16,  1924. 
"Arrived  in  Madison.  Came  on  8:15  a.m.  from  Chicago.  Homer 
[Johannsen]  saw  me  off."  "Looking  around  Madison.   Spent  night 
with  Isabel  La  Follette." 

Caldwell:   Isabel  [Belle  Case]  La  Follette  was  the  wife  of  the  senator. 
Riess:     "Registration  began."  "Dad  arrived  in  afternoon." 


Caldwell:   My  father.   I  didn't  remember  he  had  come  there.   But  it  was 

Colonel  Vood  who  financed  my  college  education  from  beginning  to 

Riess:     "Registration  continued.   Sorority  teas.  Mostly  out-of-town 

girls.   In  morning  drove  around  Lake  Mendota  with  Dad.   And  then 
Dad  left  for  the  West." 

Caldwell:   It's  so  dull.   It  just  doesn't  expression  any  personal  reactions 
at  all. 



College  Choice 

Riess :     Was  there  any  thought  of  leaving  you  behind  when  they  returned? 

Cal dwell:   Oh,  no,  no,  I  didn't  want  to  be  that  far  away  from  them.   And  in 
those  days  there  were  no  airplanes,  and  no  picking  up  the  phone 
and  in  a  few  minutes  being  in  touch.   I  wouldn't  have  been 
afraid  to  stay;  I  just  chose  not  to. 

Interesting  you  should  ask  that.   I  think  there  was  an 
option,  but  there's  where  my  timidity  came  in.   I  would  not  want 
to  stay  on.   But  the  question  was,  where  to  go  to  college.   As  I 
mentioned,  in  those  days  you  could  not  graduate  from  a 
California  high  school  and  pass  the  College  Board  Examinations 
for  an  Eastern  college.   No  possibility.   I  did  think  at  one 
time  I  wanted  to  go  to  Stanford,  but  I  didn't  make  it.   They 
only  took  five  hundred  women  at  that  time.   So  then,  what  to  do? 

Well,  Mrs.  La  Follette,  the  wife  of  Robert  M.  La  Follette 
[senator  from  Wisconsin,  1906-1925],  was  among  Mother's  Women's 
Party  pals.   And  the  University  of  Wisconsin  then  was  in  the 
forefront  of  liberal  political  and  educational  thought,  as  now 
Berkeley  has  been  for  so  many  years.   It  was  one  of  the  leading 
state  universities --it' s  still  an  excellent  university,  but  it 
was  innovative  then.   They  had  Alexander  Meiklejohn,  with  whom  I 
became  very  well  acquainted,  and  for  which  reason  I  majored  in 
philosophy  when  I  went  to  Harvard. 

So  anyway,  I  had  two  years  at  Wisconsin,  and  it  was  through 
the  La  Follettes  that  I  met  the  man  I  married,  because  Jim 
Caldwell  was  a  roommate  in  college  with  the  to -be -governor  of 
Wisconsin,  who  was  a  La  Follette  [Philip  Fox  La  Follette].   I 
was  given  a  letter  of  introduction  and  went  to  a  house -party, 
and  I  met  Jim. 


Riess:     Did  you  consider  Vellesley,  or  Vassar,  after  tutoring? 

Caldwell:  Well,  there  wasn't  much  money  spent  on  my  education  on  the  part 
of  my  beloved  Mother  and  Pops  until  I  got  to  college.  All  of 
Colonel  Woods 's  children,  his  grandchildren,  went  to  the 
Katherine  Branson  School  in  Mar In  County.  There  was  never  any 
consideration  that  I  should  go  to  any  but  a  public  school. 

Riess:     And  the  University  of  California  was  ruled  out? 

Caldwell:   That  was  because  of  my  unpleasant  memories  of  Berkeley  as  a 
child,  because  of  my  unhappy  situation- -it  had  nothing  to  do 
with  UC  Berkeley.   I  didn't  ever  want  to  see  Berkeley  again, 
really.   I  Just  wanted  to  write  Berkeley  off.   I  wouldn't  want 
it  to  be  thought  for  a  moment  that  it  had  anything  to  do  with 
the  quality  of  the  university,  but  my  childhood  here  was  very 
unhappy,  so  Berkeley  did  not  mean  peace  of  mind. 

Visconsin.  and  Alexander  Meiklelohn 

Riess:     College  is  a  time  to  get  away  from  home. 

Caldwell:   I  do  feel  that  quite  strongly,  yes.   I  think  that's  a  good  idea, 
to  make  a  change.   And  also  Visconsin  had  the  same  reputation 
for  liberality,  both  politically  and  educationally,  that 
Berkeley  has  had  for  so  many  years.   It  was  the  public 
institution  that  had  a  reputation  for  innovation  and  quality. 

Riess:     The  experimental  college  had  started. 

Caldwell:  That's  right,  Mr.  Meiklejohn's.   I  knew  Meiklejohn  because 

Mother  and  Pops  knew  him,  so  I  had  a  personal  introduction  to 
him.   I  took  his  course,  and  when  I  transferred  to  Radcliffe  I 
majored  in  philosophy,  Just  because  of  my  exposure  to  Mr. 
Meiklejohn  at  Wisconsin. 

Riess:     His  course  in  philosophy  was  taught  in  the  experimental  college? 

Caldwell:   No,  it  was  part  of  the  regular  college.   I  was  not  in  the 

experimental  college.   It  was  one  class,  one  course.   I  only 
took  my  first  two  years  there,  so  I  was  not  obliged  to  declare  a 
major.   I  was  just  taking  things  here  and  there,  and  having  a 
terrible  time  deciding  on  a  major. 

I  was  very  much  thrown  in  my  choice  of  a  major  by  knowing 
Meiklejohn.  He  believed,  you  see,  that  professors  and  students 


should  study  together  by  taking  up  a  topic  that  the  professor 
himself  was  beginning  to  inform  himself  about.   He  thought  that 
was  part  of  the  educating  process.   And  he  was  crazy  about  Greek 
philosophy.   So  he  chose  classical  Greek  civilization. 

Here  1  had  been  in  Italy,  and  loved  Italian  culture,  and  I 
was  completely  confused  about  what  I  wanted  to  zero  in  on  as  a 
specialty.   It  was  very  dismaying  to  me,  because  presumably  if 
you  went  in  for  Greek  classical  civilization  then  you  studied 
the  language ,  and  as  a  college  student  to  begin  a  language  would 
have  been  so  time-consuming. 

Riess:     Was  that  his  philosophy  or  the  experimental  college  philosophy? 

Caldwell:   You  mean  choosing  the  Greek? 

Riess:     Was  that  how  the  experimental  college  worked? 

Caldwell:   As  I  heard  him  discuss  it  then,  it  was  a  question  of  professors 
and  students  learning  together.  Of  course,  the  advantage --this 
is  my  comment  on  it- -the  advantage  would  be  that  the  professor 
would  have  had  research  methods  and  a  much  wider  culture  and 
deeper  one  than  the  students.   But  the  idea  of  the  enthusiasm 
and  the  excitement  of  sharing  the  learning  process,  whatever  it 
was- -he  just  happened  to  zero  in  on  the  classical  civilization. 

Riess:     Well,  what  did  you  learn  those  first  two  years? 

Caldwell:   What  did  I  get  out  of  that?  1  would  say  the  most  impressive 
academic  experience  was  Meiklejohn.  And  I  met  Jim  there,  you 
see,  so  that  also  was  very,  very  distracting  for  my  scholarly 
interests.   I  was  much  more  focussed  on  Jim  than  on  my  studies! 

Meeting  James  Caldwell:  Friends  at  Wisconsin 

Caldwell:   I  lived  in  a  sorority,  Kappa  Alpha  Theta,  1  belonged  to  that. 

Amusingly  enough,  many  of  the  women  that  have  been  my  friends  in 
later  life,  and  have  gone  to  different  institutions,  if  they 
have  been  sorority  women  it  was  always  that  particular  one.   I 
never  could  quite  figure  that  out. 

I  think  I  mentioned  I  met  Jim  at  the  La  Follette  ranch. 
And  at  the  same  time  I  met  John  Fairbank,  who  became  such  a 
great  scholar  in  Chinese  history,  the  greatest  authority  on 
modern  Chinese  history  of  our  time. 


Jim  was  a  little  bit  older.  The  other  men  who  became  so 
distinguished  that  I  met  at  that  same  time  were  in  my  advanced 
freshman  English  class.   We  were  exactly  the  same  age,  and  we 
were  freshmen,  so  I  did  see  something  of  them.   But  Jim  made  a 
great  impression  on  me.   It  was  very  distracting  to  my  scholarly 
life,  and  the  dean  of  women  greatly  disapproved  of  my  friendship 
with  Jim,  for  a  freshman.   See,  Jim  was  an  instructor  in  the 
English  department. 

Riess:     And  it  was  noted  that  you  were  dating  him. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   Remember,  it  wasn't  a  huge,  enormous  community  like 

this  one.   It  was  a  much  smaller  student  body  then,  so  everybody 
knew  everybody  else. 

Riess:     He  had  gotten  a  B.A.  from  Princeton. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  he  was  studying  for  his  master's  at  the  University  of 

Wisconsin.   And  of  course,  you  see,  his  whole  social  circle  was 
a  faculty  one,  much  older  people.  He  was  only  six  years  older, 
but  still,  at  that  age  to  be  a  freshman  or  to  be  a  graduate 
student  made  a  great  difference. 

But  I  was  so  accustomed  to  being  with  adults  all  of  my  life 
that  this  attracted  me  much  more  than  these  other  young  men  that 
turned  out  to  be  so  brilliant,  and  whom  I  liked.  Jim's  whole 
milieu  and  entourage- -whatever  you  want  to  call  it- -his  whole 
gang,  to  put  it  more  simply,  was  more  of  the  kind  of 
conversation  and  sophistication  of  conversation  I  was  used  to. 
But  of  course,  I  was  nevertheless  a  rather  naive,  enthusiastic 
freshman,  both  of  those  things. 

I'll  never  forget  my  stepfather,  before  we  left  Paris,  had 
some  dresses  made  for  me  at  a  very,  very  well-known  place  in 
Paris.   And  I  didn't  have  a  lot  of  clothes,  but  what  I  had  were 
very,  very  inappropriate  for  college.  My  roommate,  whom  I  still 
know- -she  lives  down  in  San  Luis  Obispo--my  first  roommate  there 
was  very  scornful  of  my  having  lived  in  Paris.   In  those  days, 
people  didn't  travel  the  way  they  do. 

Riess:     Scornful? 

Caldwell:   I  was  very,  very  much  looked  down  upon,  socially,  as  elitist  and 
superior,  you  know.   I  might  have  been  a  pain  in  the  neck  too, 
you  know.  But  on  the  other  hand,  I  was  awfully  naive  about 
people,  very,  very  naive  and  spontaneous.   I  didn't  have  devious 
plans.   It  astonished  me  to  see  how  the  students,  my 
contemporaries,  my  peers,  would  decide  they  wanted  to,  so  to 


speak,  "get"  a  certain  young  man's  attention,  and  go  after  him. 
I  couldn't  imagine  making  overtures  to  a  man. 

To  this  day,  I'm  very  reticent  about  treating  men  in  any 
kind  of  flirtatious  way.   I  mean,  that  must  sound  silly  at  my 
age,  but  I've  always  been  very  reticent  about  being  femininely 
flirtatious  with  men.   Always  was  defensive.   I  always  greatly 
enjoyed  the  men  I  knew  as  a  freshman  there.   I  dated  these  other 
men  that  I  thought  were  so  much  fun. 

I  don't  think  I  told  you  about  the  way  I  saw  some  more  of 
the  people  my  own  age  and  class  at  the  University  of  Wisconsin. 
When  you  first  entered  the  English  class,  they  had  you  write  an 
essay.  Those  they  felt  were  superior  were  put  into  an  advanced 
English  class.   So  that's  how  I  happened  to  be  in  class  with 
these  very  bright  people  of  my  own  generation.   I  was  very 
fortunate.   It  wasn't  just  through  Jim  and  his  far  more 
sophisticated  associates--!  mean,  I  did  meet  very  interesting 
people  my  own  age ,  and  they  turned  out  to  have  made  quite 
considerable  contributions  to  their  various  fields. 

Riess:     Who  were  they,  beside  Fairbank? 

Caldwell:   Well,  John  Fairbank  the  most,  and  Clyde  Kluckholm,  who  was  an 
anthropologist  studying  the  American  Indian.   He  turned  out  to 
be  very,  very  unhappy,  and  I  think  committed  suicide. 

Riess:     Were  people  there  aware  of  Sara? 

Caldwell:  Only  the  La  Follette  family  and  their  friends.   So  when  I  saw 
more  of  Jim,  of  course,  they  all  knew  who  they  were. 

Riess:     But  as  a  freshman,  you  were  anonymous? 

Caldwell:   I  would  say  yes,  among  my  peers.   Yes,  Fairbank  and  the  others 
had  no  idea,  and  I  didn't  mention  them.   I  mean,  after  all. 

Riess:     This,  I  should  think,  would  have  been  the  greatest  thing  about 
Wisconsin  for  you,  was  anonymity,  in  some  way.   What  do  you 
think  about  that?  Or  did  you  miss  the  Russian  Hill  life? 

Caldwell:  One  reason  I  think  I  was  so  attracted  to  Jim  and  his  circle  was 
that  was  much  more  the  kind  of  atmosphere  I  had  been  used  to 
always.   Even  in  high  school--!  think  I  told  you  before--! 
preferred  the  few  men  I  knew  who  were  older  and  in  college. 

Riess:     You  didn't  take  college  as  an  opportunity  to  become  a  new 


Caldwell:   No,  I  don't  think  so.   But  I've  always  been,  for  all  that- -this 
might  make  my  daughter  laugh- -but  I've  always  been  socially 
very,  very  self-conscious  and  timid,  and  fearful. 

Riess:     And  your  daughter  wouldn't  see  you  that  way? 

Caldwell:   No.   [laughs]   She  sees  me  as  her  mother  giving  these  little 

dinner  parties,  and  lecturing  to  huge  groups  of  people,  and  so 

Riess:     I  believe  that  one  can  be  both  of  those  people.   It's  a  little 
hard  to  convince  others.   You  said  that  your  mother  had  had  a 
little  talk  with  you  about  early  marriage.   Can  you  remember 

Caldwell:  No,  not  at  all. 

Riess:     Well,  she  says  in  her  oral  history  that  she  had  a  little  talk 
with  Kay  about  avoiding  early  marriage. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  they  didn't  want  me  to  be  married  before  I  got  out  of 
college.   I  think  that  was  the  idea. 

Riess:     I  see.   All  right,  so  you  had  met  Jim. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  and  the  environment  that  he  lived  in,  the  fact  that  he  was 
older  and  in  a  more  sophisticated  environment  than  my 
undergraduate  friends,  enhanced  the  pleasure  of  his  company  and 
the  whole  world  he  lived  in. 

Riess:     What  did  sophistication  mean? 

Caldwell:  Well,  we  did  not  live  together,  if  that  is  what  you're  trying  to 
ask.   And  actually--.   People  in  those  days  would  have  concealed 
it  if  they  had,  so  I  may  be  naive  in  thinking  that  not  as  many 
people  were  likely  to  do  this  than  actually  happened. 

But  remember,  my  father  was  a  Baptist  minister,  and  he  took 
me  when  I  was  about  thirteen  years  old  and  showed  me  a  home  in 
Oakland  for  "fallen"  women,  women  who  had  been  taken  advantage 
of  by  men,  that  had  fallen  in  love  with  them  and  had  become 
pregnant  and  had  an  illegitimate  child.   This  was  for  women  who 
were  being  housed  through  pregnancy  and  birth.  And  this  made  a 
terrible  impression  on  me. 

Even  if  you  felt  perfectly  confident  about  a  man,  it  seemed 
to  me  you  had  to  be  very,  very  sure  that  you  weren't  taken 
advantage  of.   But  this  wasn't  anything  I  thought,  it  was  a 
reaction,  an  utterly  unconscious  reaction.  And  I  think  that  my 


father  damaged--.  He  didn't  mean  to,  but  he  made  me  more 
fearful  about  men  than  he  ever  would  have  intended  to  do. 

Riess:     This  sense  that  they  would  take  advantage. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  and  women  should  always  be  wary,  and  it  was  a  terrible 
thing  to  have  an  illegitimate  child.   It's  a  disgrace  of 

Interestingly  enough,  my  mother  and  stepfather  of  course 

were  living  together  in  this  utterly  unconventional  way,  and  not 

accepted  by  society  at  large  in  that  time  at  all.   But  that  was 

special,  and  they  loved  each  other.  The  confidence  between  them 
was  so  apparent. 

Jim,  and  Sara  and  Colonel  Wood 



Jim  then- -this  is  awfully  amusing- -of  course  couldn't  help  but 
hear  an  awful  lot  from  me  about  my  mother  and  Colonel  Wood.   And 
when  Colonel  Wood  heard  that  Jim  was  a  smoker,  he  just  hit  the 
ceiling.  He  wrote  a  famous  letter- -remember,  they  hadn't  met 
yet  and  Jim  was,  what,  twenty -six --and  my  stepfather  wrote  him  a 
letter  about  the  terrible  evils  of  smoking,  in  which  he 
enclosed- -it's  fascinating,  and  the  letter  exists 
today- -enclosed  a  letter  from  a  doctor  in  San  Francisco  who 
pointed  out  it  was  even  bad  for  your  heart.   Now,  that  hasn't 
been  brought  up  in  public  as  public  knowledge  until  our  own 

Jim  was  furious .   The  idea  of  someone  telling  him  how  he 
should  live.   And  those  were  the  days  when  young  men  seemed  to 
proclaim  their  maturity  with  smoking  a  cigarette,  you  know. 
Little  tunes  like  "Ashes  to  ashes,  dust  to  dust,  if  the  Camels 
don't  get  you,  the  Fatimas  must."  And  really  saying  they'll 
kill  you,  but  thinking  it  was  funny,  you  see.   It  made  a  great 
impression  on  me.  Obviously  my  Baptist  father  wouldn't  smoke, 
but  Pops  and  Mother  felt  very  strongly  about  the  bad  physical 
effects  of  smoking.   So  I  was  brought  up  to  feel  that  strongly. 

That's  extraordinary,  that  he  would  put  pen  to  paper  with  this. 

With  somebody  1  was  interested  in? 
treated  me  like  his  own,  you  see. 

Oh,  he  certainly  would.   He 

Jim  was  just  furious  about  this.   But  in  the  course  of  time 
he  wanted  to  meet  them,  and  they  wanted  to  meet  him.   He  got 


a- -maybe  even  arranged  through  Ben  [Lehman]  for  all  I  know- -oh, 
no,  it  was  Noel  Sullivan  who  as  a  Catholic  was  very  much 
involved  in  the  San  Rafael  girls  college,  Dominican,  and  Jim  was 
offered  a  summer  job  teaching  there,  and  that's  what  paid  his 
way  to  California. 

Riess:     That  was  after  your  freshman  year? 
Caldwell :   Yes . 

I  met  Jim  with  their  car,  Pops  and  Mother's  car,  at  the 
railroad  train.  Then  he  was  so  nervous  about  meeting  Mother  and 
Colonel  Wood  that  he  wanted  a  tour  of  San  Francisco,  anything 
but  to  get  down  to  Los  Gatos  for  that  great  confrontation.   We 
finally  got  down  there,  and  whether  it  was  a  late  lunch  or  an 
early  dinner  I  don't  know,  but  it  was  a  meal  that  Mary  had  made. 
They  [the  Marengos]  were  very  interested  too,  because  they  loved 
me  and  1  loved  them- -they  were  the  people  that  worked  for  them. 

Pops's  youngest  daughter  was  there,  Lisa  Wood  Smith,  one  of 
the  most  wonderful  human  beings  you  could  ever  know,  and  she 
made  everybody  feel  comfortable.   Jim  was  put  next  to  her  at  the 
table,  and  he'll  never  forget,  the  way  she  treated  him  just  made 
him  feel  completely  at  home.   She  just  looked  at  him  with  her 
beautiful,  warm  brown  eyes  and  said,  "Jim,  it's  so  nice  to  have 
you  here."  Well,  now,  anybody  can  say  that,  but  it  was  how  she 
said  it,  from  the  heart,  and  looking  him  straight  in  the  eyes. 
Then  he  just  relaxed  and  felt  fine.   So  I've  always  been  so 
grateful  to  her.   [laughs]   She's  a  wonderful  person. 

Riess:     But  you  sensed  that  there  would  be  rapport. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes,  absolutely.  Oh,  I  knew  they  all  would  become  devoted 
to  one  another,  which  indeed  they  were.   I  couldn't  possibly--! 
said  that,  I  think,  in  my  "Afterword"--!  couldn't  have  married 
anyone  that  could  have  been  more  congenial  with  my  family.  And 
he  convinced  them  that  with  my  love  of  learning  I  should  go  to 
an  Eastern  college.   So  that's  how  I  happened  to.   He  said,  "The 
University  of  Wisconsin  is  just  fine,  but  she  really  ought  to 
have  the  experience  of  an  Eastern  college." 

Well,  there  were  so  many  people  that  wanted  to  transfer, 
you  had  to  have  influence  in  addition  to  your  academic  record. 
So  Pops  knew  a  great  lawyer  in  Boston  named  Morfield  Storey,  a 
great,  great  man  of  his  day,  and  Morfield  Storey,  who  of  course 
had  never  seen  me,  but  admired  Colonel  Wood,  wrote  a  letter  in 
my  favor.   I'm  sure  it  was  the  most  influential  factor  in  my 
having  gotten  into  Radcliffe.  Anyway,  that's  how  I  got  in.  Of 
course,  you  had  to  have  a  certain  grade  average  naturally,  but 


then  there  were  so  many  other  people  who  had  equally  good  grade 
averages,  so  you  had  to  have  something  else.  That's  true  today, 
that ' s  true  anywhere . 

Radcliffe  Studies.  A.N.  Whitehead.  and  Others 

Caldwell:   I  entered  Radcliffe  in  my  junior  year. 
Riess:     Did  you  live  on  campus? 

Caldwell:  No,  I  didn't  want  to.   I  had  not  enjoyed  living  in  a  sorority, 
so  I  did  not  want  to  live  in  a  dormitory.  There  was  a  charming 
woman  named  Cornelia  Green,  a  spinster.   She  had  a  lovely  house, 
English  furniture,  and  because  she  was  elderly  and  couldn't  do 
any  of  the  housework  or  cooking,  that  is  how  she  spent  the 
money- -this  I  figured  out- -that  we  paid  her,  and  she  had  not 
only  a  cook  but  a  second  maid.   There  were  three  students  living 
there . 

I  had  an  awfully  nice  room  with  a  fireplace  that  the  other 
girls  of  course  shared,  at  my  invitation.  That  was  my  first 
year  there.   I  can't  remember  why,  whether  she  stopped  doing 
this--I  mean,  Miss  Green- -stopped  having  Radcliffe  girls  or  not, 
but  I  lived  in  two  other  private  houses  during  the  time  1  was  at 
Radcliffe.   Never  anything  so  enjoyable  as  this  one. 

Riess:     Did  Radcliffe  have  the  great  sense  of  being  among  women,  sort  of 
intensely  female? 

Caldwell:   Well,  it  was  a  new  experience  for  me,  because  1  was  so  used  to 
co-education.   I  don't  know  whether  I  can  answer  that  question, 
because  1  was  very  much  aware,  even  to  this  day,  of  what  a 
difference  there  is  in  your  social  judgments  of  a  college  if  you 
come  in  from  the  beginning  or  come  in  as  a  transfer  student.   I 
never  felt  as  identified  as  1  might  have. 

I  was  very  grateful  for  having  gone  there ,  because  I  had 
never  met,  encountered,  such  high  academic  standards  in  my  whole 
life.   And  actually,  I  didn't  know--I  majored  in  philosophy,  and 
I  didn't  know  whether  I  could  make  it  academically  that  first 
year.   I  had  Alfred  North  Whitehead  as  a  professor,  and  1  had 
Etienne  Gilson  from  the  Sorbonne. 

The  arrangement  was --you  see,  there  is  no  such  thing  as  a 
Radcliffe  faculty,  you  know,  it's  all  Harvard  faculty.  You  can 
either,  with  the  consent  of  the  professor,  have  all  your  courses 
in  the  Harvard  Yard  co-educationally,  or,  if  the  professor  does 


not  want  women  in  his  classes,  he  was  obliged  to  repeat  the 
course  at  Radcliffe,  which  means  the  enrollment  would  be  very 
small,  and  he's  also  paid  doubly.   That's  a  great  inducement, 
because  of  course  he  gets  double  pay.   But  anyway,  so  I  had  a 
course  with  Vhitehead  in  a  class  of  five,  that  great  man. 

As  far  as  Gilson  was  concerned,  we  tried  to  show--.  We 
felt  insecure  as  Radcliffe  students  vis-a-vis  the  men  at 
Harvard,  so  we  tried  to  assume  a  great  superiority,  and  one  of 
them  was  to  petition  Professor  Gilson  to  lecture  to  us  in  French 
instead  of  English.   "Of  course,  those  Harvard  men,  they 
wouldn't  be  up  to  that  kind  of  thing."  You  know,  that's  the 
kind  of  stance  we  took. 

Riess:     Did  you  take  your  lectures  in  French  from  him? 

Caldwell:   Some  of  them.   I  think  he  was  told  by  the  administration  he 
shouldn't  any  more.   The  Harvard  authorities  cracked  down  on 
Gilson  because  he  didn't  believe  in  giving  examinations  by 
offering  questions  that  the  students  hadn't  been  alerted  about. 
He  would  say  before  the  exam,  "Here  are  five  topics.  Two  of 
these  will  be  your  examination  topics."  We  thought  that  was 
wonderful,  of  course,  but  we  had  to  take  them  all  over  again, 
because  Harvard  didn't  like  that  idea. 

Riess:     I  don't  know  that  name,  Gilson. 

Caldwell:   Etienne  Gilson.   Well,  he  was  a  great  man  in  logic.   He  was  from 
the  Sorbonne . 

And  Whitehead  was  just  charming.  He  and  his  wife  even 
invited  their  undergraduates  to  their  soirees.   I  think  it  was 
every  month,  in  the  evening,  they  invited  students  into  their 

Riess:     Did  you  have  a  sense  that  you  were  getting  a  slightly 

watered-down  version  of  what  they  were  getting  at  Harvard? 

Caldwell:  Never,  never,  never.  Not  ever.  But  of  course,  Whitehead  was 
impossible  for  us  really  to  understand. 

Then  all  of  a  sudden  a  woman  from  England  came  and 
everybody  acknowledged  she  was  the  only  one  in  Cambridge  who 
really  understood  Whitehead.   Dorothy  Emmett  her  name  was,  and 
she  eventually  went  back  to  a  university  in  England  as  a 
professor,  specializing  in  Whitehead.   She  was  an  amazing  woman. 
I  had  never  met  anyone  like  her,  and  of  course  I  was  in  awe  of 
her  knowledge. 


Cal dwell: 

Caldwell : 


We  all  had  to  do  so  much  studying  that  we  only- -this  was 
true  generally,  as  far  as  I  know- -only  went  out  one  night  a 
week,  socially.   Saturday  night,  we  went  to  the  Boston  Symphony. 
I  used  to  see  a  lot  of  John  Fairbank  when  I  transferred  there , 
even  though  1  was  in  love  with  Jim.   But  he  was  back  in 
Wisconsin,  and  1  had  my  social  life  —  and  he  did  too.  [laughs] 
Clyde  Kluckholm  and  John  Fairbank  had  both  transferred  to 
Harvard . 

Jim  was  still  in  Wisconsin  at  this  point? 
Yes.  That's  right,  that  first  year. 

Philosophy  is  such  a  difficult  field  of  study, 
you'll  never  get  your  head  above  water. 

I  think  you  feel 

Well,  I  regret 
had  majored  in 
undergraduate . 
dates ,  and  one 
was  sequential 
facts  or  dates 
doing  it. 

having  majored  in  it,  really.   I  would  rather  I 
history,  or  history  of  art  maybe,  as  an 

But  my  memory  has  always  been  terrible  for 
of  the  reasons  I  enjoyed  philosophy  is  because  it 
in  thought  and  didn't  depend  on  either  historical 
so  much.   I  think  that  was  influential  in  my 

Anyway,  these  great  men  were  wonderful  to  be  with.   But 
Whitehead  one  time  said,  "Well,  Miss  Ehrgott,  did  you  understand 
today's  lecture?"   I  said,  "Some  of  it,  Professor  Whitehead." 
And  he  told  me  this  delicious  joke.   "Well,"  he  said,  "it's  like 
the  bishop's  egg.   His  hostess  asked  him  if  he  enjoyed  his 
breakfast  egg,  and  he  said,  'Parts  of  it.'"   [laughter]   I've 
never  forgotten  the  humiliation.  My  face  just  flushed  red. 

Troubled  Tutors 

Caldwell:   I  had  two  very,  very  distressing  experiences  there  that  had 
nothing  to  do  with  me. 

They  had  the  tutorial  system,  and  my  first  tutor,  who  was 
always  immaculately  groomed- -this  is  important  to  know  for  what 
happens  later- -polished  shoes  and  a  white  handkerchief  in  the 
pocket,  and  creased  pants,  and  he  was  the  only  professor  1  knew 
who  mentioned  his  wife  ever  in  his  lectures ,  he  was  infatuated 
with  his  wife.  All  of  a  sudden  he  discovered  that  she  was 
having  an  affair  with  one  of  his  graduate  students,  and  he  had  a 
nervous  breakdown.   He  suddenly  became  disheveled,  and  took  on 


(At  that  time,  interestingly  enough,  two  things  you 
couldn't  do  as  a  professor  at  Harvard  was  drink  with  your 
students  or  be  homosexual.   Santayana,  the  great  aesthetician, 
was  fired  from  Harvard  because  he  was  homosexual.  Those  were 
different  days.   I  unfortunately  didn't  have  a  chance  to  study 
with  Santayana  for  that  reason.   He  was  before  my  time  there.) 

Anyway,  this  tutor  of  mine  was  then  very  intelligently 
dealt  with  by  Harvard.   Instead  of  firing  him,  they  sent  him  off 
to  be  psychoanalyzed  by  Jung.  But  unfortunately,  he  committed 
suicide.   He  cut  his  wrists  with  a  razor  blade.   That  was  kind 
of  traumatizing. 

My  second  tutor,  Dumas,  also  had  a  nervous  breakdown. 
Riess:     What  was  his  name? 

Caldwell:  His  name  was  Raphael  Dumas.   It's  funny,  I'm  blocking  right  now 
on  the  other  man's  name.   I  thought  I'd  never  forget  it.   It 
will  come  to  me  at  some  point. 

Anyhow,  Dumas  was  a  bachelor,  and  absolutely  devoted  to  the 
book  he  was  writing  on  Plato.   His  nervous  breakdown  was  not 
caused  by  affairs  of  the  heart.  He  took  forever  to  get  this 
book  finished,  so  when  anybody  met  him,  instead  of  saying,  "Do 
you  think  it's  going  to  rain,"  or  "Where  are  you  going  on 
vacation,"  they'd  say,  "How's  the  book  coming?"  And  he  Just 
cracked  up  because  he  hadn't  finished  this  book. 

Well,  he  also  went  off  to  Jung  and  came  back,  and  he  was  a 
great  success.   He  eventually,  even  though  quite  along  in  middle 
age,  married  and  lived  happily  ever  after,  unlike  the  other 

Riess:     I  think  Henriette  Lehman  was  another  who  went  to  see  Jung. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes,  they  had  a  whole  cult  here  of  people--.  And  they  never 
broke  the  umbilical  cord  with  Jung,  Jungian  philosophy,  they  all 
got  together,  and  it  was  kind  of  a  Joke  in  Berkeley. 

Riess:     Why  Jung?  Why  do  you  think? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know.   I  was  Just  told  this.   But  I  knew  they  were 

psychoanalyzed,  and  Harvard  was  very  glad  to  [see  to  that].  At 
the  time  I  thought  that  was  very,  very  intelligent,  but  still  it 
was  a  terrible  Jolt  to  have  these  two  tutors--. 

You  see,  in  those  days  either  because  of  the  finances  or 
the  population  the  enrollment  was  small  enough  so  that  you 


actually  did  have  a  tutor  one  to  one.   I  think  later  on  they 
weren't  able  to  afford  to  do  that.  And  you  got  acquainted  with 
them--.  Ralph- some thing  was  the  name  of  the  first  man;  I  can't 
think  of  his  last  name  at  the  moment.  Anyway. 

Issues  of  Feminism,  and  We sternness 

Caldwell:  There  was  something  else  I  wanted  to  say  about  Dorothy  Emmett. 
I  was  so  impressed  with  her  knowledge  and  her  training  and  her 
wonderful  education.  Her  life  was  so  disciplined  that  if  you 
wanted  to  have  tea  with  her  you  had  to  make  a  date  maybe  a  month 

Finally  when  the  great  moment  came  when  I  could  have  tea 
with  Dorothy  Emmett  I  asked  her  about  her  education,  and  she 
remarked  that  she  had  had  ten  years  of  Latin.   I  was  just 
shocked.  Ten  years  of  Latin!  Good  heavens!   "Oh,"  she  said,  "I 
can't  imagine  life  without  it."   [laughter] 

Riess:     How  old  was  she? 

Caldwell:   She  was  still  a  young  woman,  I  suppose  she  was  in  her  thirties. 
But  she  seemed  to  us  at  age  twenty- three  as  much  older. 

I  was  then  so  aware  of  the  difference  between  British  and 
American  education.   I  remember  thinking,  good  heavens,  I've  had 
two  years  of  Latin,  and  I  thought  that  was  quite  enough. 

Riess:     Did  you  meet  any  women- -maybe  Dorothy  Emmett  counts  as  one- -who 
then  became  role  models? 

Caldwell:  No,  except  that  we  were  so  proud  of  the  fact  that  a  woman  had 
had  this  great  distinction  about  understanding  Uhitehead. 

See,  as  Radcliffe  women  we  were  not  feminists  in  the  sense 
of  resenting  the  fact  that  we  didn't  have  the  same  privileges  at 
Harvard  that  the  men  had.   For  example,  we  could  not  use  the 
stacks  at  the  Videner  Library,  and  this  was  humiliating.   There 
was  a  little  room  you  had  to  go  to,  and  you  had,  in  the  most 
circuitous  way,  to  find  your  books. 

But  we  didn't  resent  it,  because  we  were  told  when  we  came 
there  that  we  didn't  have  privileges,  but  rather  we  were  granted 
advantages.   And  this  was  true.   I  mean,  it  was  a  private 
college,  it  was  not  a  state  university.   So  we  accepted  this. 




It  was  interesting  that  the  women  students  were  very 
frustrated  when  they  couldn't  take  a  course.  There  were 
professors  at  Harvard  who  both  forbade  women  to  enter  their 
classes  and  did  not  repeat  the  class,  I  think.   I'm  not  quite 
sure  of  that.   I  may  be  wrong. 

In  any  case ,  what  I  wanted  to  mention  now  is  that  there  was 
an  anthropology  class  where  the  students  were  about  to  go  on  a 
dig  somewhere,  out  of  the  country,  but  it  was  unthinkable  that 
the  women  would  go.  What  would  you  do  about  toilets?  What 
would  you  do  about  sleeping  arrangements?  And  so  on.  There  was 
one  girl  who  was  very  brilliant.   She  wasn't  angry  about  this, 
but  she  simply  had  to  go  on  this  trip,  professionally.   So  she 
quietly  researched,  found  out  what  every  student  was 
specializing  in,  and  discovered  there  was  one  very  important 
aspect  of  this  project  that  had  been  neglected. 

Without  saying  a  word  she  became  utterly  skilled  and 
proficient  in  this  particular  area,  and  they  had  to  take  her. 
That's  the  kind  of  thing  women  did.   But  I  don't  remember  anyone 
taking  the  feminist  attitude,  "This  is  unfair."   I  think  if  this 
had  been  a  public  institution  there  would  have  been  a  whole 
different  story,  but  we  were  told  in  the  beginning  that  we  had 
privileges,  but  not  rights,  at  Harvard. 

You  were  among  women  with  goals  that  were  more  than  home  and 

Well,  I  suppose  so.   The  ones  in  Miss  Green's  house  where  I 
first  lived,  I  liked  them  very  much.   But  they  teased  me  as  a 
Westerner.  They  thought  that  for  Westerners  everything  had  to 
be  very  large,  and  one  time  as  a  Joke  they  got  some  enormous 
grapefruit,  and  put  on  them  some  candlesticks  or  something  like 
that,  something  or  other,  just  as  a  joke  for  me.   "Happy 
Birthday  to  the  Californian, "  or  something  like  that.   They  very 
much  made  me  aware  I  was  a  Westerner. 

Miss  Green  one  morning- -she  was  very  fond  of  me  and  I  of 
her- -said,  "Katherine,  I  realize  that  people  speak  in  a 
different  way  in  the  West,  but  there  is  one  word  that  you  say 
that  I  find  the  pronunciation  very  hard  to  hear.   It's  a-range. 
You  say  o-range."   [laughter]   So  from  then  on--I  was  so  fond  of 
her- -we  had  a-range  juice.   I  pronounced  it  her  way. 

But  as  far  as  the  girls  were  concerned,  I  felt  they  were 
very  conservative  in  their  attitude  toward  their  professors. 
They  criticized  me  for  asking  questions  in  class.   I  asked  them 
why.   I  said,  "Haven't  we  come  here  to  learn?"  "Oh,  yes,  but 
you  shouldn't  ask  a  question  unless  you  know  a  great  deal." 


"But,"  I  said,  "I  can't  know  anything  comparable  to  what  the 
professor  knows.   I  want  to  find  out  what  he  knows."  But  the 

professors  didn't  treat  me  that  way  at  all. 

They  were  very 

It  was  while  I  was  at  Radcliffe  that  1  read  the  entire 
Divine  Comedy,  with  the  great  Professor  [Charles  Hall] 
Grandgent.  He  was  very  old-fashioned  in  his  attitude  toward 
women,  so  when  we  came  to  anything,  even  a  borderline  case  of 
having  to  do  with  sex,  he  then,  instead  of  having  us  translate 
it,  read  it,  just  the  text,  in  Italian.  We  didn't  translate  it 
at  all,  in  other  words,  out  loud. 

Art  History.  Lang don  Warner 

Riess:     When  did  you  meet  Langdon  Warner? 

Caldwell:   1  met  him  as  soon  as  I  came  to  Radcliffe,  because  he  was  a 

friend  of  Colonel  Wood's.   1  had  a  personal  letter  to  him  and  1 
was  entertained  in  his  home .   So  then  1  took  his  course ,  because 
I  liked  him. 

Riess:     His  course  was  what? 

Caldwell:  Chinese  and  Japanese  art.  His  specialty  was  Japanese  art,  but 
he  gave  the  survey  course,  you  see.   So  we  started  out  with 

Riess:     Was  that  the  first  art  history  you  had  had? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  that  was  the  first  art  history  course  I  ever  had. 

In  Warner's  class  we  went  to  the  museums --the  Boston 
Museum.  Of  course  the  Fogg  Museum  at  Harvard  is  a  fine  place 
but  the  Boston  Museum  had  these  great,  great  collections  of 
Chinese  and  Japanese  art.  That  was  a  revelation  to  me.   I 
realized  I  had  never  seen  anything  that  you  could  call  great 
Asian  art  on  the  West  Coast.   It  was  just  a  complete  eye-opener. 

Riess:     Did  you  have  an  instant  liking  for  the  Chinese  and  Japanese  art? 

Caldwell:  No--.  Well,  we  always  had  the  Chinese  furniture  you're  sitting 
on  right  now,  but  I  hadn't  thought--.   I've  often  wondered  how 
influential  the  furnishings  in  my  home  were,  but  I  can't  really 
be  sure  there  was  any  connection.   I  loved  going  to  Chinatown 
with  Colonel  Wood,  and  I  loved  the  Chinese  that  I  saw  with  him, 


and  got  an  interest  because  he  would  go  there  to  buy  a  bowl  or  a 
pewter  dish  or  something,  a  container  or  something. 

It  must  have  been  unconsciously  influential.   But  1  didn't 
go  there  saying,  "Because  I've  come  from  San  Francisco  that  has 
Chinatown,  1  am  therefore  going  to  become  involved  in  Asian 
art."  There  was  no  positive  connection  is  what  I'm  trying  to 
say.   It  was  just  influential  without  being  a  positive  decision. 

Riess:     Did  taking  that  first  class  focus  you  on  what  you  really  liked? 

Cal dwell:   I  think  it  probably  did,  although  I  took  other  classes,  you 

know,  in  art  history  there,  too.  I  took  one  on  the  Renaissance 
with  Chandler  Post,  who  had  been  a  school  friend  of  my  mother's 
in  Detroit,  Michigan. 

Another  thing  that  impressed  me  very  much  was  the  fact  that 
our  professors  took  us  to  private  collections,  and  somehow  it 
seemed  such  a  marvelous  opportunity  to  be  able  to  see  original 
works  of  art.   But  you  know,  art  history  wasn't  my  major.   It 
was  when  I  came  back  and  got  my  master's  degree  at  Harvard  that 
I  specialized  in  art  history.  And  that  was  after  I  was  married, 
when  Jim  was  teaching  at  Harvard  in  a  most  lowly  capacity,  a 
teaching  assistant. 

I  would  like  to  talk  more  about  Langdon  Warner.   He  was  a 
man  who  never  had  a  Ph.D.,  who  learned  his  craft  and  his  skills 
by  exploration.  The  focus  of  his  life,  the  most  important  event 
professionally,  was  his  visit  to  a  place  in  western  China  called 
Tun  Huang.  There  were  some  wonderful  cave  paintings  there  which 
had  been  preserved  because  of  the  weather- -it's  very  dry—and 
also  because  the  trade  routes  had  changed  and  they  had  been 

He  made  a  very  spectacular  find  there  in- -I've  forgotten 
the  year- -and  he  had  the  permission  of  the  Chinese  government  to 
take  back  some  specimens.  He  presented  his  credentials  to  an 
uneducated  priest  who  was  presumably  "in  charge"  of  these  caves. 
And  he  [the  priest]  said,  "Well,  take  anything  you  want,  except 
the  new  ones."   Langdon  Warner  realized  the  ignorance  of  the 
priest,  that  he  didn't  recognize  that  these  Eighth  Century  and 
earlier  works  were  of  course  the  greatest  treasure. 

With  the  permission  of  the  Chinese  government  he  took  a 
sculpture,  a  kneeling  bodhisattva--a  bodhisattva  is  a  Buddhist 
figure  who  is  compassionate  and  delays  going  into  nirvana  in 
order  to  save  other  people- -he  took  this  almost  lifesize  figure 
made  of  unbaked  clay,  meaning  it  was  so  fragile  that  you  almost 
were  afraid  that  if  you  looked  at  it  it  would  develop  cracks, 


wrapped  it  in  his  underwear,  because  he  felt  it  didn't  have 
enough  packing,  and  took  it  by  bullock- cart  across  these  rough 
areas  to  where  he  could  transport  it  to  the  United  States. 

As  a  student  at  Harvard,  taking  his  class,  my  attention  was 
focused  on  these  works  of  art  he  had  found  in  central  Asia. 
This  beautiful  statue,  and  a  piece  of  the  wall.   The  Chinese,  by 
the  way,  had  neglected  these  beautiful  works  of  art.   It  wasn't, 
curiously  enough,  until  the  Communist  era  when  1  suppose  they 
were  aware  that  these  were  tourist  attractions,  that  they  began 
to  preserve  them  and  were  very  severe  about  their  being  visited. 
But  in  those  days  nobody  went  there. 

Langdon  Warner's  description,  in  a  book  called  The  Long  Old 
Road  in  China,  of  his  amazement  at  the  beauty  of  these  works  of 
art,  the  preservation,  is  really  something  to  read.   I  felt  I 
had  to  go  there,  and  so  in  the  course  of  time  I  made  a  trip 
there.   And  this,  of  course,  was  the  fulfillment  of  a  wish,  the 
hommage  &  mon  cher  professeur. 

Riess:     The  pieces  he  brought  back,  the  sculpture,  and  the  piece  of  the 
cave  wall,  did  he  put  them  into  a  collection? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  they  were  bought  for  Harvard.   They  are  in  the  Fogg  Museum. 
They  were  works  of  art  that  I  looked  at  all  the  time  I  was  a 
student  there. 

Riess:     How  extensive  was  the  Asian  art  collection  at  the  Fogg? 

Caldwell:   They  had  had  some  very  fine  bequests  in  the  Asian  field. 

Langdon  Warner  was  a  sort  of  adjunct  curator.  He  was  a  lecturer 
in  art  history,  but  naturally  anything  Asian  that  was  bought  by 
the  museum  would  be  subject  to  his  scrutiny,  or  his  choice. 

Riess:     Did  the  Fogg  compete  with  the  Boston  Museum  of  Fine  Arts? 

Caldwell:   No.   They  were  trying  to  acquire  fine  examples  of  Asian  art  in 
private  holdings  which  they  would  like  to  have  left  to  the 
museum.   I  don't  think  it  was  a  competitive  matter—maybe  so, 
but  I  had  never  thought  of  it  that  way.  They  accepted,  or 
probably  sought  out,  but  anyway,  accepted  gladly  any 
distinguished  collection  that  might  be  left  to  them.   Some 
people  prefer  to  leave  their  works  of  art  to  a  university  rather 
than  to  a  city  museum.   But  1  didn't  think  it  was  ever  very 

Riess:     You  went  often  to  the  Museum  of  Fine  Arts? 


Caldwell:   Oh  yes,  and  at  least  twice  a  month  our  art  history  classes  in 

Asian  art  would  meet  at  the  Boston  Museum.   This,  of  course,  was 
a  very  impressive  event  for  me  because  out  in  California  we  had 
nothing  of  high  quality  in  Asian  art.   It  opened  my  eyes  to  the 
fact  that  whereas  San  Franciscans  had  always  talked  about  being 
"the  gateway  to  the  Orient,"  they  had  no  examples  at  all  of 
great  works  of  art.  And  1  think  even  back  as  a  student  I  had 
the  wish  that  sometime  San  Francisco  could  acquire  a  great 
collection.   Never  dreaming—nobody  had  even  heard  of  Mr. 
[Avery]  Brundage,  or  the  Brundage  collection  at  that  time. 

Riess:     Did  you  meet  other  collectors  when  you  were  at  Harvard? 

Caldwell:   We  were  taken  to  private  collections.   But  mostly  the  Boston 

Museum.   You  see,  there  are  more  examples  of  the  works  of  Asian 
art  from  every  country  in  the  Boston  Museum  than  any  other  place 
in  the  world.  As  far  as  Asian  art  was  concerned,  we  didn't 
necessarily  need  to  go  to  other  private  collections.   In  Western 
art,  yes,  a  great  many,  and  in  Philadelphia  and  New  York. 

Riess:     You  said  you  met  [Ananda  Kent]  Coomaraswamy  [collector  of  Indian 
painting  and  sculpture]? 

Caldwell:   I  met  him  at  dinner  at  Langdon  Warner's  house.   He  was  a 

formidable  man.  You  were  afraid  to  ask  him  a  question  because 
you  probably  wouldn't  understand  the  answer.   [laughs] 

I  would  like  to  mention  the  name  of  a  scholar  of  Japanese 
art  that  I  met  who  was  a  teacher  [at  Harvard] .   His  name  was 
Soetsu  Yanagi .   Warner  invited  him  from  Japan,  and  he  was  in 
charge  of  folk  art.   I  became  very  much  interested  in  folk  art. 

[looking  at  pictures  and  article  about  the  history  of  the 
Museum  of  Fine  Arts]   These  people,  I  knew  who  they  were,  but  I 
didn't  know  them.   Remember  I  was  an  undergraduate.   Although  I 
did  have  one  graduate  year  under  Paul  Sachs ,  of  course ,  who  I 
knew  very  well. 

Riess:     You  made  a  check  mark  in  this  article  next  to  the  statement, 
"The  late  12th  Century  hand  scroll,  'Kibi's  Adventures  in 
China,'  had  been  on  the  Japanese  art  market  for  some  years..." 
What  about  that? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  that  made  such  an  impression  on  me,  that  scroll.   It's  a 
wonderful  scroll.  The  Japanese  were  distracted  by  the 
Industrial  Revolution  and  didn't  hang  onto  their  works  of  art  at 
that  time,  and  Boston  was  able  to  get  these  extraordinary  works, 
marvelous  things. 


Marriage,  and  Travel  Time 

Riess:     You  were  married  in  September  of  1929. 

Caldwell:   That's  right. 

Riess:     Jim  continued  at  Wisconsin? 

Caldwell:  No,  he  moved  on  to  Harvard  to  get  his  Ph.D.   So  he  was  there 

[Cambridge]  my  senior  year  [KC  received  B.A.  from  Radcliffe  in 
1928.]   It  might  have  been- -it  had  to  be  my  senior  year,  because 
he  was  not  there  my  junior  year.  Ve  were  married  after  that, 
after  1  got  my  bachelor's  degree.   Then  we  came  back.   He  had  a 
job  as  a  teaching  assistant,  and  we  were  there  for  two  years. 

Riess:     You  had  a  period  of  travel  in  there,  didn't  you? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  that's  right,  after  I  graduated.  I  got  my  degree  in  the 
middle  of  the  year,  and  I  went  over  to  Europe  by  myself  for  a 
short  time. 

Riess:     You  went  to  Greece  with  the  American  Academy  in  Rome? 

Caldwell:  That's  true,  yes,  I  did.   I  had  taken  a  course  in  Greek 

archaeology  at  Harvard,  and  the  professor  said,  "Well,  if  you're 
going  abroad,  be  sure  to  get  in  touch  with  the  American  Academy 
in  Rome.   I'll  give  you  an  introduction."  They  go  to  Greece 
every  April.   Mostly  they  take  students  who  are  enrolled  in  the 
academy,  but  if  they  have  any  vacant  places  and  you  have  a 
recommendation,  academic  one,  they'll  take  you.  He  said,  "The 
minute  you  get  to  Naples,  telephone--"  which  I  did.   I  then  went 
to  Rome  and  Joined  the  group  going  to  Greece. 

It  cost  two  hundred  dollars  for  the  entire  month.   I  went 
for  something  like  three  weeks  in  Greece.   From  Italy,  traveling 
all  over  Greece  and  back  again,  all  for  $200  a  month,  including 
transportation  to  and  from  Italy  to  Greece.   [laughs]  On  a 
cattle  ship,  to  be  sure.  Or  no,  it  was  another  kind  of 
animal- -goats  I  guess  they  were. 

Master's  Degree:  Paul  Sachs,  and  Consequences  for  San  Francisco 

Riess:     In  your  undergraduate  work  at  Radcliffe  had  you  become 
acquainted  with  the  museum  program  at  the  Fogg? 








Oh,  that  was  not  until  1  came  back  for  my  master's  degree  that  I 
took  the  first  course  in  the  United  States  on  museums  and 
history  of  museums,  the  conditions  under  which  objects  should  be 
kept  in  museums.   It  was  kind  of  an  overall  survey  of  museum 

Paul  Sachs  taught  that  course? 

Yes.   I  didn't  care  for  him  at  all  as  a  person,  although  he  was 
very,  very  able  in  what  he  did.   He  had  been  connected  with 
Goldman  Sachs,  a  big  investment  firm  in  New  York  City.   I  guess 
maybe  he  was  attached  to  it  by  family  rather  than  having 
actually  worked  there,  because  he  kept  telling  us,  "Make  a 
decision.   Either  you  go  in  for  teaching  or  you  go  in  for 
business.   You  cannot  mix  the  two." 

All  of  that  changed  later.  R.E.  Lewis  in  San  Francisco, 
who  is  in  Mar in  County  now,  who  deals  in  prints,  probably  knows 
more  about  prints  than  anybody  else ,  or  as  much  as  anybody  else , 
and  he's  considered  just  as  reputable  as  a  university  professor. 
But  in  that  day,  the  idea  was  you  never  can  go  into  teaching  if 
you've  ever  been  in  trade.   And  he  made  this  great  point. 

Museum  science,  what  is  that  considered  to  be? 
spectrum  is  it? 

Which  end  of  the 

Oh,  if  you're  a  professional  it's  like  being  a  college 
professor,  to  go  into  museum  work. 

But  in  fact,  you  often  end  up  being  an  administrator. 

But  you're  not  buying  and  selling  objects.  That's  the  important 
thing,  you  see.  The  idea  is,  if  you're  in  trade  you  might  be 
tempted  to  sell  something  to  a  museum  that  wasn't  as  valuable  as 
purported  to  be,  something  like  that. 

Sachs  was  very  wealthy,  and  he  had  a  beautiful  house  on 
Shady  Hill  in  Cambridge,  and  that's  where  he  had  his  graduate 
students  meet.   I  was  very  glad  to  have  taken  the  course,  but  I 
had  a  very  unfortunate  experience ,  very  unfortunate  for  San 

At  the  time,  the  Legion  of  Honor  in  San  Francisco  had  a 
succession  of  unsuccessful  museum  directors.  Two  of  them,  a 
husband  and  wife,  had  been  dope  fiends,  as  well  as  people  that 
just  were  incompetent.   I,  all  full  of  excitement  and  crusading 
zeal,  wrote  my  stepfather,  "You  know,  they  train  people  here  to 
be  museum  directors." 


So  when  they  wanted  to  get  rid  of  somebody  in  the  Legion  of 
Honor,  Pops,  who  knew  everybody,  said  to  Mortimer  Fleishhacker 
or  whoever  it  was,  Herbert  Fleishhacker,  president  of  the  Arts 
Commission  in  San  Francisco,  "My  daughter's  right  at  Harvard 
where  they  can  find  somebody  to  replace  him."  Veil,  that  man,  I 
regret  to  say,  was  gay,  though  we  didn't  have  that  term  for  them 

Anyhow,  he  had  come  from  Oakland,  and  he  was  at  Harvard, 
and  he  was  head  of  the  tutors  there,  and  they  wanted  to  get  rid 
of  him,  not  because  he  was  homosexual,  but  because  he  was  making 
problems.   1  didn't  know  any  of  that.  So  when  the  delegation 
came  from  San  Francisco,  and  I  introduced  them  to  Mr.  Sachs,  and 
they  made  a  deal,  Mr.  Sachs  unloaded  this  man  on  San  Francisco, 
and  he  was  an  absolute  disaster.   [See  more  on  this  story,  p. 

It  was  one  of  the  most  disillusioning  experiences  in  my 
life.   1  was  so  full  of  zeal  and  happiness  about  being  a  liaison 
between  Harvard  and  San  Francisco,  and  it  was  an  absolute, 
absolute  fiasco.   And  so  that  was  a  bad  result  of  having  taken 
the  museum  course . 

Riess:     Was  Grace  Morley  at  the  Fogg  when  you  were  there? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no,  I  never  knew  her  until  years  and  years  later.   I  never 
knew  her,  until  she  came  to  Berkeley.   She  came  much  later. 

Riess:     I  was  wondering  if  you  had  met  her  at  the  Fogg. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no.   I  didn't  meet  her  until  much  later,  in  San  Francisco. 
She  was  married  to  a  professor  here. 

Asian  Art  Studies 

Caldwell:   I  was  definitely  drawn  to  Asian  art  in  a  way  1  wasn't  to  any 
other  civilization. 

Riess :     Did  you  learn  a  language? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  that's  an  interesting  thing.  Of  course,  I  thought  I  should. 
You  can't  imagine  how  astonished  and  almost  incredulous  young 
people  are  today  when  I  tell  them  this,  but  do  you  know,  at 
Harvard  at  that  time  you  were  not  allowed  to  study  Chinese  or 
Japanese  as  a  language  unless  you  were  specializing  in  the 
language  itself. 





They  said  "Chinese  and  Japanese,  unlike  any  other 
languages,  are  so  difficult  that  you  can't  possibly  have  two 
disciplines --history  and  Japanese,  history  and  Chinese."   In 
other  words,  their  idea  was  if  you  were  in  art  history,  and  you 
wanted  to  know  what  somebody  in  China  or  Japan  had  written,  you 
got  someone  to  translate  it  for  you,  rather  than  learning  the 
language  and  then  translating  it  yourself.  And  indeed  Japanese 
is  more  difficult  than  any  language  in  the  world;  that's  a  fact. 
Much  harder  than  Chinese  in  terms  of  structure. 

Then  when  the  Second  World  War  came  and  they  started  having 
these  saturation  courses  for  military  purposes  the  whole 
attitude  changed,  and  the  need  for  having  specialists  in  the 
language  was  so  great  that  that's  the  reason  almost  all  the 
scholars  that  we  have  now  in  universities  teaching  in  Asian 
fields  are  veterans  of  the  Second  World  War.  They  were  sent  to 
these  specialized  schools,  and  then  they  were  so  equipped  with 
the  language,  they  wanted  to  use  it.  Or  else  they  were  so 
enamored  of  it. 

James  Cahill  is  an  example,  one  of  the  great  specialists  in 
Chinese  art  in  the  world.   To  be  sure,  he  was  learning  Japanese, 
and  then  later  learned  Chinese,  but  he's  an  outstanding  example 
of  this  phenomenon. 

In  any  event,  you  didn't  get  an  opportunity. 

No,  I  didn't.   And  of  course,  this  was  a  great  handicap  later 
on,  because  a  few  years  later  everybody  assumed  that  if  you  were 
in  the  Asian  field  you  knew  either  Chinese  or  Japanese  or 
preferably  both.   I  tried  to  learn  Japanese  at  one  time.   But  it 
really  takes  such  dedication;  you  just  have  to  saturate  yourself 
in  it  for  years  in  order  to  do  it. 

I  have  a  friend  who's  in  art  history.   She  got  her 
doctorate  at  New  York  University,  which  is  one  of  the  best 
places  for  Asian  art.   I  met  her  in  Kyoto.   She  had  been  there 
for  two  years  studying  the  language.  We  went  to  the  theater. 
She  couldn't  understand  what  the  man  said  who  announced  the 
change  in  the  personnel,  and  she  couldn't  read  the  program. 

She  must  have  been  fit  to  be  tied. 

No,  she  accepted  that  in  her  own  little  narrow  field  of  Japanese 
she  knew  she  could  do  something,  and  otherwise  not.  It's  highly 

Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood,  Sara  Bard  Field,  Katherine  Field  Caldwell,  and  James  R. 
Caldwell  on  the  Caldwell 's  wedding  day  at  The  Cats,  1929. 

Photograph  by  Ansel  Adams 

Kay,  Sara,  Jim,  "Pops",  and  Robinson  Jeffers  at  Tor  House,  Carmel, 
circa    1932. 



A  Job.  A  First  Home,  and  A  Visitor.  Ella  Young 

Riess:     In  1929  you  received  your  M.A.  in  fine  arts  at  Radcliffe  College 
[Harvard],  and  the  two  of  you  came  out  here  in  1930.   Was  there 
a  consideration  on  Jim's  part  of  taking  a  job  anywhere  other 
than  Berkeley? 

Caldwell:  No,  I  think  not.  Of  course,  Mother  and  Pops  were  very  anxious 
we  should  be  out  here.   I  don't  know  what  fine  recommendations 
he  had  on  the  part  of  people  in  California,  like  Ben  Lehman- -of 
course  he  was  interviewed  by  someone  who  had  never  heard  of  him 
or  knew  him,  so  that  was  objective.   But  the  whole  idea  of  his 
being  interested  in  coming  to  Berkeley  was  because  Mother  and 
Pops  really  wanted  us  out  here. 

Certainly  he  couldn't  just  be  taken  in  by  influence.   It 
was  not  a  situation  like  Dominican  College  had  been;  this  is  a 
big  university  with  very  high  standards,  and  he  had  to  be  chosen 
very  objectively.   But  the  fact  that  he  wanted  to  come  to 
Berkeley  was  really  because  Mother  and  Pops  wanted  us  so  badly. 

Riess:     Did  they  find  a  place  for  you  to  live?  How  did  you  start  out? 

Caldwell:   When  we  came  out  here,  the  man  that  built  the  house  for  them  in 
Los  Gatos,  Walter  Steilberg,  he  had  a  house  overlooking  the 
stadium,  in  that  area  just  slightly  south  of  the  campus.   He  was 
building  some  little  experimental  houses,  experimental  from  the 
point  of  view  of  the  materials  he  was  using,  cement  blocks.  He 
built  one  right  behind  his  house,  off  of  Panoramic  Way- -also  off 
of  a  lane,  we  always  seem  to  live  in  inaccessible  places- -that' s 
where  we  lived.  We  were  the  first  occupants  of  this  new  house. 

Riess:     What  address  was  that? 


Caldwell:   Number  One,  Orchard  Lane.   [By  September  1931  that  house  was 
renumbered  and  addressed:  Number  4,  Mossvood  Lane.  JRKK] 

It  was  a  very,  very  beautiful  little  house,  very  small. 
Ella  Young  visited  us  there,  the  Irish  folklorist.   Do  you  know 
about  Ella  Young?  She  was  a  very  famous  person  in  her  time.   A 
woman  named  Padrian  McGillicuddy  down  in  southern  California  is 
doing  a  book  on  her  right  now.  She  comes  to  see  me  every  now 
and  then. 

Riess:     Ella  Young  visited  because  she  was  a  friend  of  Jim's? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no.  Ella  Young  was  a  friend  of  Noel  Sullivan,  and  whether 
it  was  through  Ben  Lehman  that  Noel  knew  her,  I  don't  know. 
Noel,  always  a  willing  person  to  cooperate  in  cultural  affairs, 
paid  for  her  to  be  what  we  now  call  a  Regent's  professor,  but  it 
wasn't  that  concept  then.  An  adjunct  professor  maybe.   I  don't 
know  how  long  that  expression's  been  used  either.   Anyway,  she 
wasn't  a  tenured,  regular,  ongoing  faculty  member,  but  she  had 
courses,  and  Noel  Sullivan  funded  this,  although  of  course  again 
it  had  to  go  through  proper  academic  critical  consideration, 

She  was  here  for  quite  a  while,  and  she  was  the  most 
spellbinding  person.   She  had  the  most  [imitating]  "loovely" 
voice  you  can  imagine,  just  lilting.  And  she  had  a  magic  effect 
on  groups.   She  never  raised  her  voice,  she  had  a  very  low 
voice.  But  there  might  be  a  party  with  thirty- five  or  forty 
people,  and  little  by  little,  they  all  clustered  at  her  feet  to 
hear  these  marvelous  Irish  folktales  that  she'd  tell. 

She  actually  believed  in  magic,  and  she  believed  that  a 
creature  named  Gilpin  was  her  tease.   She  really  believed  if  she 
couldn't  find  her  glasses,  that  Gilpin  had  moved  them  from  one 
place  to  another  and  hidden  them  from  her.   I  remember  once  she 
was  our  houseguest  in  this  little  house  of  Steilberg.   A  door 
creaked  downstairs.   "Oh,"  she  said,  "Gilpin' s  there."  And  she 
believed  it! 

And  once  at  one  of  these  huge  gatherings  at  some  large 
house  in  Berkeley,  everybody  was  clustered  around- -young  people 
would  sit  at  her  feet- -and  there  was  an  enormous  grand  piano 
across  the  room,  and  all  of  a  sudden,  nobody  being  near  it,  one 
of  the  notes  sounded.  We  had  been  listening  to  her  tales,  you 
know,  of  magic,  and  we  were  all--.   What  had  happened  was  that 
there  was  a  candle,  and  wax  had  fallen  on  the  key.   Of  course, 
not  from  her  point  of  view.   That  was  one  of  her  "little 
people."   [laughs] 


Riess:     She  stayed  with  you? 

Caldwell:   She  just  stayed  with  us  a  short  time.  We  were  very  fond  of  her. 

Riess:     That  was  an  interesting  part  of  town,  where  you  were  living. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  it  was,  but  the  stadium  had  been  built  long  before  then, 
and  on  football  game  days  you  had  to  have  a  permit  to  get 
through  the  police  that  would  not  allow  cars  up  the  hill,  to 
prove  that  you  lived  there.   An  awfully  nice  house  just  above 
that  one  came  on  the  market,  and  we  thought  of  renting  it,  but 
we  couldn't  bear  to  live  in  that  area  because  of  the  football 

Riess:     How  long  did  you  stay  there? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  remember  how  long  we  were  there,  though  of  course  I 
could  figure  it  out  [1930-1932].   Actually  we  were  forced  to 
move  when  I  was  pregnant  with  Sara,  and  we  needed  a  bigger 
house.   And  then  we  did  something--.   I  don't  know  what  other 
young  people  who  lived  on  such  a  small  income  did,  but  we  liked 
room,  and  of  course  we  couldn't  afford  to  buy  a  house,  and  we 
couldn't  afford  to  rent  a  house  with  a  lot  of  room,  so  we  would 
rent  a  house  that  was  for  sale,  and  we'd  get  one  with  four 
bedrooms  in  a  nice  area.   But  of  course  we  had  to  move  when  it 
was  sold.   And  we  did  that  several  times. 

Riess:     And  you  could  afford  that. 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Fifty  dollars  a  month  for  a  four-bedroom  house  in  a  nice 

Ben 1am in  Lehman.  "Bull"  Durham,  the  Bronsons  and  the  Clines 

Riess:     Who  were  your  first  really  good  Berkeley  friends? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  Ben  Lehman,  and  I'll  tell  you,  Willard  Durham,  whom  we 
called  "Bull."  He  was  wonderful  to  us.   Bull  Durham  on  the 
faculty  was  nicer  to  us  than  anybody  else,  and  he  told  us  where 
to  buy  good  cheeses  and  wines  cheaply,  and  so  on.  And  he  loved 
young  people.   Do  you  have  an  oral  history  on  him? 

Riess:     No. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no,  you  couldn't.   I  don't  think  the  concept  of  the  oral 
history  had  come  into  being  before  he  died. 


Riess:     How  much  older  were  they  than  you,  Lehman  and  Durham? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  a  lot.  Bull  particularly  was  much  older.  He  was  old  enough 
to  be  our  father,  or  more.   But  we  adored  him,  and  he  Just  loved 
all  young  people.   He  took  them  under  his  wing  when  they  came 

Riess:     And  friends  on  Panoramic  Way? 

Caldwell:  No,  we  didn't  —  I  don't  think  that's  ever  been  true.   People—you 
know  your  immediate  neighbors  maybe,  but  we  didn't  stay  there 
all  that  long.  Of  course,  we  knew  the  Steilbergs  very  well.  We 
were  just  right  in  their  back  yard. 

Riess:     And  Helena  Steilberg,  was  she  there? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  she  was  so  much  younger  then.   Just  a  very  little  girl. 

Helena's  quite  a  character.   I'm  very  fond  of  her.   But  I  didn't 
know  her  then  except  as  a  little  girl. 

Riess:     When  you  became  part  of  the  English  department  the  people  who 
really  reached  out  to  you  were  Ben  Lehman  and  Durham? 

Caldwell:  Well,  I  would  say  Bull  Durham  more,  and  a  little  later  on  Ben 

I  must  say  that  at  that  time,  even  though  relative  to  other 
departments  the  English  department  was  enormous,  nevertheless 
the  attitude  then  was,  everyone  tried  to  entertain  newcomers,  so 
we  met  a  great  many  of  the  established  professors  in  their 
private  homes.   That  doesn't  happen  any  more.   Josephine  Miles 
was  very  bitter  about  that  later  on,  because  she  used  to 
entertain  so  much,  and  she  would  say,  "You  know,  someone  who's 
been  at  my  house  for  dinner,  some  young  professor,  doesn't  even 
say  hello  on  campus . " 

But  in  those  days  you  were  welcomed  at  small  dinners.   Of 
course,  people  had  cocktail  parties,  but  the  small  dinner  party 
was  really  the  way  you  became  acquainted  and  entertained  your 
friends.   You  didn't  try  for  anything  fancy.   You  had  no- -at 
least  we  didn't- -sense  of  having  to  keep  up  with  a  higher 
standard  of  living  than  we  could  afford.   And  people  helped  on 
the  dishes,  and  that  kind  of  thing. 

Riess:  In  Ben  Lehman's  oral  history  he  talks  of  sitting  at  the  dinner 
tables  of  people  of  great  social  prominence,  and  he  talks  very 
interestingly  about  the  art  of  the  dinner  party. 


Caldvell:  Veil,  he  lived  in  San  Francisco  as  much  as  he  lived  here,  his 
social  life,  you  know. 

At  first  I  was  very  melancholy  when  I  would  go  around, 
without  being  immediately  conscious  of  why  I  felt  so  depressed. 
I  started  to  try  to  analyze  it,  and  I'd  realize  it  would  be 
passing  houses  or  places  that  I  had  unpleasant  memories  of,  or 
something.   And  the  Baptist  church  at  Dana  and  Haste,  always  to 
this  day  I  feel  very,  very  depressed  when  I  pass  the  Baptist 
church  where  I  was  obliged  to  go  to  prayer  meetings  and  Sunday 
services  and  so  on. 

But  on  the  other  hand,  you  see,  the  English  department 
then,  there  was  a  certain  little  group  within  the 
department --this  probably  happens  in  all  universities --that  was 
especially  bound  together,  and  we  were  taken  in  to  this  group 
right  away.   Did  you  ever  do  an  oral  history  on  Professor 

Riess:     No. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  such  a  wonderful  man.   And  Jim  Cline,  and  a  certain  little 
coterie,  you  might  say.   And  because  of  Jim,  of  course, 
they- -when  I  say  "we"  were  taken  in,  it  was  of  course  men  that 
were  attracted  to  one  another,  and  the  wives  happened  to  like 
each  other,  too.   So  we  had  made  friends  very  quickly  within  the 
department,  and  they  were  our  closest  friends.  Many  of  them 
were  our  own  age . 

See,  Ben  and  Bull  Durham  were  the  only  ones  of  the  older 
generation  that  we  were  very  close  to.   I  remember  now  that 
Walter  Morris  Hart  was  the  one  who  interviewed  Jim  for  his  Job 
here.   I  think  he  came  to  Harvard  and  interviewed  him  there,  if 
I'm  not  mistaken.   And  of  course,  he  and  his  wife  were  very  much 
older,  and  very,  very  conventional. 

The  Walter  Morris  Harts.  T.S.  Eliot,  and  Social  Mores 

Caldwell:   The  reason  I'm  smiling  is,  it  was  a  long  time  before  I  met  Mrs. 
Hart.   Somehow  or  other  I  met  him.   Whether  she  was  away  or  ill 
I  don't  know.  One  of  our  colleagues  gave  a  costume  party,  and 
Jim  and  I  went,  he  as  a  nursemaid  and  I  as  a  baby  in  a  baby 
carriage.   And  I  had  a  bottle,  but  of  course  it  had  wine  in  it 
instead  of  milk.  And  under  those  circumstances,  I  met  Mrs. 
Walter  Morris  Hart,  sitting  in  this  silly  baby  carriage 
[laughing],  holding  a  bottle.   I  was  so  embarrassed. 


Later  on  we  were  entertained  there,  and  one  of  my  most 
painful  memories  was  a  dinner  there  for  T.S.  Eliot,  only  a  tiny 
party.  And  oh!  this  Is  when  I  wondered  why  we  ever  came  back  to 
Berkeley.  First  of  all,  they  did  not  refill  the  women's  wine 
glasses,  only  the  men's.   But  that  was  not  all.   After  dinner, 
the  men  went  to  Professor  Hart's  study  and  did  not  return  until 
we  went  home . 

1  was  in  tears  when  I  came  home .   1  had  grown  up  in  a 
family  where  there  was  no  separation  of  the  sexes  after  dinner, 
and  where  women  were  considered  the  intellectual  equals  of  men, 
and  here  we  were- -I  felt  utterly  downgraded.   1  remember  just 
crying  and  crying  and  crying,  1  was  so  disappointed.   1  had 
wanted  to  see  more  of  T.S.  Eliot  too,  you  know.   I  thought,  what 
kind  of  a  world  is  this  that  we've  come  into? 

Later  on,  of  course,  many,  many,  many  years  later,  my 
mother  and  Walter  Morris  Hart  formed  a  very  cordial ,  warm 
relationship.   He  proposed  to  her,  actually,  when  she  was  in  her 
eighties.   Of  course,  she  did  not  accept  this.   But  they  used  to 
have  literary  lunches,  and  they  had  a  long  correspondence.   I 
have  quantities  of  letters  in  the  other  room,  it's  incredible. 

Riess:     Did  Jim  understand  your  feelings? 

Caldwell:   I  think  he  understood,  but  he  had  lots  of  adjusting  himself  to 
do  here,  you  know,  courses  to  prepare  and  so  on. 

Jim  I  think  was  more  cooperative  about  my  working  than  any 
husband  I  can  imagine  of  his  day.   But  1  don't  think  he  could 
imagine  the  isolation  that  a  woman  who  had  been  brought  up  in  an 
intellectual  environment  felt  when  she  was  suddenly  a  housewife. 
This  was  before  I  actually  had  established  myself  over  at  the 
museum  in  San  Francisco. 

When  I  got  a  job  he  couldn't  have  been  more  understanding 
and  more  helpful.   And  also  raising  the  children.   Then  again, 
there  was  a  period  of  course  when  I  wanted  to  stay  home  for  a 
certain  number  of  months  after  each  child  was  born,  but  again,  1 
felt  that  intellectual  distance  from  stimulating  groups.   He'd 
tell  me  about  all  these  wonderful  lunches  on  campus  with  his 
colleagues.   The  professors  meet  around  a  table,  you  know,  at 
lunch  all  the  time,  in  every  department. 

I  felt  very  cut  off  from  what  was  going  on  in  the  world, 
and  I  would  be  pretty  envious  of  that  stimulation,  until  1  went 
back  to  work. 

Riess:     Was  Section  Club  stimulating? 


Caldvell:   I  don't  know  if  stimulating  is  the  word.   Ve  joined  the  drama 
group  from  the  beginning.   At  that  time,  1  never  acted  in  them, 
but  Jim  Just  loved  them,  and  he  was  awfully  good  at  any  kind  of 
part,  whether  it  was  a  butler  or  a  king,  it  didn't  matter.   I 
think  anybody  that  likes  acting  feels  that  way;  they  don't 
really  necessarily  want  a  big  part. 

Riess:     The  Bronson-Cline  wives,  did  they  feel  the  way  you  did? 

Caldwell:  No.   I  don't  think  so.  But  then,  they  weren't  brought  up  the 
way  I  was.   They're  wonderful  people,  you  understand.   Mildred 
Bronson  is  still  living.   She  was  ninety  last  year,  and  her 
birthday's  coming  up  very  soon.   I  must  remember  it,  in 

Riess:     You  weren't  at  the  point  in  your  own  development  of  walking 
across  the  floor  and  flinging  open  the  door  and  saying,  "I'm 
going  to  spend  this  evening  with  Mr.  Eliot  too!" 

Caldwell:   Oh,  no- -oh,  heavens,  no!   Oh,  heavens,  you  couldn't  imagine!   I 
wouldn't  have  dreamed- -it  would  never  have  entered  my  head  to 
make  any  protest  at  the  time.   Only  when  1  got  home  and  wept. 

I  just  loved  the  wives  of  the  English  department  people, 
but  they  had  entirely- -they  didn't  mind  being  just  wives.   I  was 
not  used  to  the  separation  of  the  sexes,  socially.   I  was 
criticized  for  sort  of  joining  in  men's  conversations.   But 
really  it  was  only  at  the  Harts'  that  the  men  did  that.   I  don't 
think  that  ever  happened  again.   They  [the  Walter  Morris  Harts] 
belonged  to  an  entirely  different  social--!  hate  to  say,  not 
quite  class,  but  followed  very  conventional  social  mores, 
whereas  most  of  the  University  people  didn't  do  that. 

Riess:     What  about  Benjamin  Lehman,  if  he  gave  a  dinner  party? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no,  he  didn't  do  that.  After  all,  he  did  marry  Judith 
Anderson.   But  most  women  preferred  to  talk  about  domestic 
affairs,  so  that  though  they  weren't  separated  after  dinner 
physically  in  a  different  room,  they  more  or  less  clustered 
together,  and  talked  about  the  best  bargains  here  and  so  on 
there.   1  was  not  as  interested  in  those  topics.   [laughs] 


The  Denneses  and  the  Rosses 

Riess:     According  to  your  resume,  in  1930  you  were  a  lecturer  at  the 

Legion  of  Honor.  Would  faculty  wives,  like  Mrs.  Walter  Morris 
Hart,  have  seen  you  as  a  career  woman? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  no.   1  was  in  the  category  of  faculty  wife,  so  far  as  the 
women  at  the  University  were  concerned.   That's  the  role  I  was 
expected  to  play.  But  I  was  very  young  and  had  no  idea  of  that. 
1  grew  up  in  quite  a  different  atmosphere ,  where  faculty  people 
and  people  of  any  kind  of  intellectual  background  were  all  mixed 

Riess:     Were  there  faculty  wives  who  right  away  you  found  a  kind  of 
rapport  with? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   I  did  indeed.   The  Denneses.   Will  Dennes  was  in  the 
philosophy  department,  and  his  wife,  Margaret  Dennes,  was  an 
extremely  intellectual  woman.   And  of  course  there  were  women  in 
the  faculty  wives  group  who  shared  intellectual  interests,  and 
artistic  ones.   But  Margaret  Dennes  and  Will  Dennes  were  just 
remarkable . 

And  then  we  were  very  fond  of  the  Edward  Tolmans ,  very 
fond.   Mrs.  Tolman,  who  had  graduated  from  Radcliffe,  and  was 
part  of  the  local  chapter  of  the  Radcliffe  Club,  became  a  very, 
very  close  friend.   She  was  a  person  I  greatly  admired.   Oh, 
there  were  a  number  of  women.   The  Uhipples,  I  was  crazy  about 
the  Whipples,  T.K.  Whipple  and  his  wife,  Mary  Ann.  These  were 
all  people  that  we  just  loved. 

Then  when  it  came  to--.   I  suppose  we  could  call  it  a 
clique,  although  we  never  thought  of  it  that  way,  never  thought 
of  ourselves  as  exclusive.   But  we  were  taken  right  into  a  small 
group  of  people  that  originally,  before  our  arrival  from 
Cambridge,  had  met  together  socially  and  more  or  less 
informally.   That  was  Professor  and  Mrs.  Bronson,  and  Jim  Cline, 
and  John  and  Nancy  Ross. 

Riess:     That's  a  name  I  don't  know,  Ross. 

Caldwell:   Really?  Well,  it  was  a  tragic  thing,  what  happened  about  him. 
John  and  his  wife  were  delightful  people,  had  a  lovely  little 
house  up  on  Woodmont  Avenue.  John  was  a  very  peculiar 
personality,  and  he  could  become,  let's  say,  offbeat  in  what  he 
had  to  say  on  one  glass  of  sherry.  He  didn't  get  along  with  the 
chairman  of  the  English  department,  and  they  had  another,  what 
they  considered  "problem"  man  down  at  UCLA,  and  they  exchanged 


them.  These  charming  people  that  we  just  loved  were  forced  to 
leave  Berkeley.   But  he  was  a  rather  eccentric  and  delightful 

Riess:     These  were  people  from  Harvard? 

Caldwell:   Bud  Bronson  I  think  was  Yale,  but  I'm  not  sure.   Nancy  Ross  1 
think  had  gone  to  another  women's  college,  maybe  Vassar  or 
something  like  that.  Anyway,  they  were  from  the  East  Coast, 
Nancy  and  John  Ross  were.   I  don't  know  where  the  Clines  came 
from.  Actually,  Jim  had  married  someone  who  was  a  nurse,  and 
was  a  charming,  nice  woman,  but  not  part  of  that  intellectual 

But  this  was  a  very,  very  special  group,  and  they  had  a 
wonderful  sense  of  humor.   We  would  go  on  trips  together  in  the 
summer  in  the  Sierra,  also,  camping.   There  was  lots  of 
conversation,  and  lots  of  merriment.  Wonderful  sense  of  humor 
everybody  had.   Very  bright. 

Riess:     The  English  department  then  seems  like  a  pretty  intense  group  of 
people,  a  lot  of  rivalries  and  factions. 

Caldwell:   I  suppose  there  were  a  lot  of  rivalries  and  factions.   I  was 
just  more  aware  of  the  small,  congenial  group.   Though  I  met 
other  people  in  the  department,  and  there  was  one  faculty  wife, 
an  older  one  —  quite  older,  Morris  Hart's  generation- -I'm  ashamed 
I  can't  think  of  her  name,  I'll  dig  it  out  of  my  memory  at  some 
point.   They  were  very  much  concerned  about  us. 

We  thought  we  couldn't  afford  to  live  in  a  "nice" 
house- -nice  in  the  sense  of  East  Bay  hills- -and  we  were  thinking 
of  renting  a  house  down  in  West  Berkeley.   This  faculty  wife 
took  me  aside  very  carefully,  gave  me  quite  a  talk  about  how  it 
would  not  be  an  area  to  raise  children  in.  We  didn't  have  any 
children,  of  course,  yet.  But  anyway,  it  would  not  be  a  proper 
area  to  raise  children  in,  and  we  must  surely  find  a  place  to 
live  in  the  East  Bay  hills. 

Riess:     The  question  of  where  you  send  your  children  to  school,  and 
whether  to  live  in  West  Berkeley  or  not,  was  that  a  racial 

Caldwell:   It  was  more  economic.   It  was  a  very  poor  area,  and  therefore 
not—people  hadn't  the  advantage  of  education,  not  an  educated 
area.  The  blacks  came  in  after  the  Second  World  War. 

Riess:     Faculty  sent  their  children  to  the  Berkeley  schools? 


Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   Up  there  on  Le  Roy  Avenue,  when  I  was  a  girl,  some 

neighbors  of  mine  went  to  a  private  school,  but  not  very  many. 
Almost  everyone  sent  their  children  to  the  Berkeley  public 
schools,  because  they  were  very  good  at  that  time,  very  good. 
And  my  children,  too,  went  to  the  Berkeley  public  schools,  with 
the  exception  that  briefly  my  daughter  went  to  the  Anna  Head 
School,  but  not  very  long. 

Jim  Caldwell *s  Academic 


Riess:     In  the  In  Memoriam  biography  of  Jim  Caldwell  [published  in 

1966],  I  read  that  he  was  full  professor  in  1946,  "a  student  of 
Medieval  Latin,  of  Gothic,  and  Old  Norse." 

Caldwell:  He  wrote  a  book  on  John  Keats,  however.  Nineteenth -century 

Romantic  poetry  was  an  attraction  for  him.   But  he  had  gotten 
into  Medieval  studies  at  Harvard,  and  picked  it  up  again  later. 

Riess:     And  his  "effort  to  make  of  the  Extension  Division  a  more 

effective  and  far-reaching  instrument  for  the  realization  of  his 
ideal,"  what  was  that  about? 

Caldwell:   That  was  much,  much  later,  towards  the  end  of  his  life.   He 

didn't  approve  of  some  of  the  principles  by  which  the  Extension 
Division  was  run,  and  he  wanted  to  have  it- -he  felt  that  too 
much  money  was  being  spent  on  it.   I'm  not  altogether  clear,  to 
tell  you  the  truth,  on  his  attitude  toward  the  Extension 
Division,  and  I  was  not  very  much  interested  in  the  Extension 
Division  myself. 

I  think  academically,  he  felt  it  watered  down  the 
standards,  and  that  too  much  money  was  being  diverted  to  it- -I 
think.   Now,  I  may  be  wrong  about  that.   This  was  so  much  later 
in  his  life,  really  very,  very  late  in  his  life,  a  short  few 
years  before  he  died,  that  he  got  interested  in  that  problem. 
The  Extension  Division,  I  never  could  quite  understand  why  he 
was  quite  so  involved  in  it,  so  I'm  not  a  very  good  source  of 
information  about  that. 

Riess:     The  In  Memoriam  statement  was  written  by  Charles  Muscatine,  and 
Professors  Bronson  and  Cline,  and  it  picks  up  on  these  various 
themes . 

Caldwell:  Yes,  yes.  Well,  of  course,  he  was  devoted--!  can't  remember  how 
early  he  became  associated  with  the  ACLU,  but  that  was  a  long 
association,  and  he  was  on  the  local  board  for  a  long  time,  and 


eventually  on  the  national  board,  too.   He  was  absolutely 
faithful  to  the  meetings,  and  he  felt  very  strongly.   So  that 
was  one  of  the  reasons  why  the  loyalty  oath  situation  was 
particularly  crucial  in  his  life. 

Riess:     Did  he  get  started  with  the  ACLU  through  the  relationship  with 

Caldwell:   Well,  also,  my  mother  and  stepfather  had  been  on  it  from  almost 
the  beginning.   I  can't  remember,  though,  exactly  how  he 
happened  to  be  asked  to  be  on  the  board.   It  could  have  been 
through  Helen  Salz,  a  wonderful  woman.   I'm  not  exactly  sure  at 
what  point,  and  through  what  particular  individual,  he  became 
attached  to  the  civil  liberties,  but  it  was  quite  early  on  and 

Riess:     And  what  did  he  bring  to  the  Civil  Liberties  Union? 

Caldwell:   Well,  he  was  interested,  like  Meiklejohn,  in  the  First 

Amendment,  in  the  speech  situation.   1  think  that  was  the  chief 
focus . 

Riess:     And  conscientious  objector  status? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes,  conscientious  objector,  that's  right,  that  is  true. 
And  then  later  on,  of  course,  the  loyalty  oath. 

Friendship  with  Mr.  Shiota 

Riess:     Were  these  issues  that  troubled  him  a  lot,  or  could  he 
compartmentalize  and  go  on  with  his  academic  work? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know  what  to  say.  Yes,  he  was  very  serious  about  these 
things.   Trouble?  It  didn't  keep  him  awake  at  night,  no.   But 
the  loyalty  oath  later  on  did.   That  was  a  frightful  thing. 

But  the  question  of  conscientious  objection,  it  might 
interest  you  to  know  that  he  was  also  on  the  Draft  Board.   Maybe 
his  colleagues  didn't  realize  that.  He  was  on  the  Draft  Board 
during  the  Second  World  War.   And  he  was  interested  in  the 
conscientious  objectors  at  that  time,  too.   He  had  a  dual 

Riess:     Jim  volunteered  to  be  on  the  Draft  Board? 


Caldwell:  Yes,  I  think  that  was  a  volunteer  thing,  I'm  sure  it  was.  He 

greatly  believed  in  that  war.   I  guess  that's  the  only  one  that 
people  of  ordinary  pacifistic  temperaments  could  accept.   I 
mean,  after  all,  Hitler  and  the  Jewish  situation  was  so 
appalling.   He  really  believed  in  that  war.   So  did  my  mother 
and  stepfather. 

I  was  Just  astonished,  because  I  held  out  for  my  pacifism 
for  a  long,  long  time.   [laughs]  There  was  always  a  pacifist 
group  at  the  University,  too.   I  think  Kathleen  Tolman  was 
interested  in  that --wonderful  woman.  You  know,  she  was  the  wife 
of  the  man  who  took  the  lead  in  fighting  the  loyalty  oath, 
Edward  Tolman. 

Actually,  at  the  time  he  was  on  the  Draft  Board  I  had  a 
very  dear,  elderly  Japanese  friend  who  was  in  the  art  trade,  Mr. 
Shiota.   He  had  the  finest  shop  on  Grant  Avenue.   He  dealt  in 
Chinese  works  of  art,  particularly  Chinese  bronzes.  Because  he 
was  born  in  Japan,  was  not  a  citizen,  he  was  put  in  a  prison 
camp  rather  than  in  a  so-called  relocation  center.   I  sent  him 
some  fruit,  and  the  other  members  of  the  Draft  Board  accused  Jim 
of  not  being  a  loyal  citizen,  or  his  wife's  not  being  a  loyal 
citizen,  sending  a  present  to  the  enemy. 

Jim  was  very  angry  about  that,  and  he  insisted  that  an 
investigation  be  made  in  print  of  this  Japanese  friend,  Mr. 
Shiota,  and  he  was  utterly  cleared.   And  Jim  wanted  me  to  be 
cleared,  and  he  also  wanted  his  own  reputation  as  my  spouse  to 
be  cleared. 

The  rest  of  that  story  is  that  the  great  Chinese  bronzes 
were  impounded  by  the  government,  and  I  went  over  to  the  bank  to 
see  what  was  happening  to  those  bronzes  that  were  impounded,  in 
the  very  beginning  of  this  terrible  fury  against  the  Japanese, 
and  the  man  at  the  bank  said,  "You're  the  first  person  who  has 
had  anything  good  to  say  about  any  Japanese."  He  wasn't  hostile 
toward  me,  but  just,  "How  can  you  do  this?"  This  made  a  great 
impression  on  them. 

Riess:     Going  back,  had  your  mother  and  Colonel  Wood  friends  in  the 
Asian  community? 

Caldwell:  Just  mostly  Chinese,  except  for  Mr.  Shiota.  My  stepfather  used 
to  spend  a  lot  of  time  wandering  around  Chinatown,  and  feeling 
sorry  for  the  poor  business  conditions,  and  therefore  buying 
things  that  we  didn't  need.  Much  to  my  mother's  distress,  he 
was  always  buying  something.  After  he  died  there  were  probably 
lots  of  things  he  paid  for  and  never  picked  up.   But  yes,  we  had 
quite  a  number  of  connections.  All  through  these  art  stores, 


rather  than  through  intellectual  sources.  Nothing  to  do  with 
academia,  or  literature. 

1  was  impressed  at  Berkeley  High  with  the  fact  that  we  had 
Oriental  companions ,  although  there  were  very  few  blacks ,  and 
that  was  not  until  Vorld  War  11  when  the  government  brought  in 
hundreds  of  blacks  for  Richmond,  into  the  industrial  plants.   1 
was  very  apprehensive  about  the  Japanese  children- -Hearst  had 
these  terrible  blasts  against  them.   1  was  ill  at  ease  with 
them,  1  didn't  know  what  to  say.  When  1  think  of  the  Japanese 
friends  1  have  now,  and  my  many  trips  to  Japan! 

And  then  after  the  Second  Vorld  Var  was  over  Jim  and  1 
would  never  take  a  student  helper  into  the  house  except  a 
Japanese -American.   One  of  the  most  remarkable  students  I  ever 
had  living  here  was  a  Japanese -American.   He  was  here  for  three 
years,  and  almost  like  our  son.   Marvelous  person. 

Riess:     Odd  that  you  would  have  been  uncomfortable  with  them.   They  were 
such  a  minority,  and  white  Americans  are  such  a  majority. 

Caldwell:   I  know.   I  didn't  feel  an  aversion  to  them  at  all,  just  not 

knowing  how  to  communicate.   Even  though  they  spoke  English,  of 
course,  because  they  were  born  here. 

At  the  time  of  the  evacuation,  a  terrible  thing  happened  in 
my  daughter's  class  at  school.   My  daughter  was  in  elementary 
school,  something  like  eight  or  nine  years  old.   Their  favorite 
student  in  the  class  was  a  Japanese -American.   They  got  a  cake 
and  ice  cream  for  the  farewell  party  for  her,  and  in  the  midst 
of  the  party  the  principal  came  in  and  said  it  had  come  down 
from  the  superintendent  of  schools  that  no  aliens- -no  Japanese 
were  to  be  honored.   These  eight  and  nine -year  olds,  they  were 
angry  and  they  were  all  in  tears.   Isn't  that  terrible,  to  take 
that  out  on  a  child! 

On  the  other  hand,  1  have  to  speak  with  great,  great 
admiration  for  some  of  the  Christian  churches  here.   The 
Congregational  Church,  I  remember,  just  turned  over  the  church 
to  counsel  in  helping  these  people.   And  people  were  taking  in 
treasures  that  belonged  to  the  Japanese  to  house  them  for  the 
duration.   [pauses]   I  feel  very  emotional  about  this.   By  this 
time --this  was  much  later  than  my  high  school  experience--!  had 
made  friends  with  Japanese  people  that  were  dear,  dear  friends. 


Ben  Lehman's  Circle,  and  Wives  Judith  Anderson  and  Henrietta 

Riess:     Benjamin  Lehman  was  a  decade  older  than  Jim? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  even  more,  I  think.   He  seemed  to  us  very  much  a  senior- -not 
a  senior  citizen,  but  established.  After  all,  he  was  a  full 
professor,  you  know.  Those  distinctions  were  very  crucial  to 
young  people  at  that  time. 

Riess:     Was  he  imposing  and  self-important? 
Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  he  always  was  very  self-important. 

1  don't  think  I'm  a  very  good  person  to  evaluate  Ben, 
because  1  was  one  of  the  few  people  that  was  critical  of  him, 
and  everybody  else  thought  he  was  wonderful. 

Riess:     Why  were  you  critical  of  him? 

Caldwell:   Because  of  his  attitude  toward  women  in  the  University.   He 
didn't  think  there  should  be  any  women  in  the  English 
department.   I  got  off  on  the  wrong  foot  with  him  at  lunch  the 
first  time  I  met  him  by  saying,  "It's  too  bad  there  aren't  more 
women."  He  said,  "Oh,  no.  Men  would  never  enroll  in  classes 
run  by  women."  And  I  thought  that  was  terrible. 

My  mother,  of  course,  he  admired,  and  she,  heaven  knows, 
has  had  a  career,  and  would  certainly  have- -I  wasn't  as  gracious 
as  my  mother  in  handling  these  controversial  topics.   I'm  afraid 
I  met  him  head-on. 

Riess:     Did  Benjamin  Lehman  set  a  social  tone?  What  was  that  lunch? 

Caldwell:   That  was  when  he  had  the  house  up  on  Mosswood  Road.   It  was  a 

house  with  Marion  Parsons  that  he  was  so  fond  of,  such  a  lovely 
woman,  oh,  she  was  a  wonderful  person.  And  it  was  there,  as  I 
remember,  that  I  first  saw  him,  and  I  think  it  was  at  that 
luncheon  that  I  expressed  my  dismay  that  there  were  no  women  in 
the  English  department.   But  somehow  or  other,  our  chemistry 
just  didn't  mix. 

Riess:     When  he  married  Judith  Anderson,  how  was  she  as  a  faculty  wife? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  she  was  marvelous. 

Riess:     Where  was  she  in  her  career  at  the  time  when  she  married? 


Caldvell:   I  have  no  idea.   I  feel  so  embarrassed  not  to  be  able  to  tell 

you  more,  but  I  was  really  pretty  absorbed  in  my  own  world,  you 
know,  of  art,  and  I  also  had  to  prepare  talks  and  do  a  lot  of 
background  work  for  this ,  and  run  my  house .   Because  I  was  very 
good  at  being  a  good  housewife,  in  the  sense  of  good  meals  and 
organization.  And  I  delegated  the  cleaning,  as  I've  said 
earlier,  to  somebody  else. 

But  anyway,  because  we  all  entertained  one  another  at  that 
time,  and  welcomed  people,  we  welcomed  Ben's  new  wife.   So  we 
had  a  little  dinner  party.   I  was  always  the  cook,  of  course; 
when  1  say  have  a  dinner  party,  1  don't  mean  it  was  catered  or 
anything.   We  all  did  it;  we  lived  on  a  shoestring,  and  we  did 
our  own  work. 

I  kind  of  dreaded  entertaining  them,  because  I  thought  she 
was  going  to  be  this  grande  dame,  but  she  couldn't  have  been 
nicer.   She  was  just  folksy  and  human- -dear.   1  just  was 
pleasantly  surprised  at  how  nice  she  was,  and  that  was  that. 

Did  I  tell  you  the  episode  about  wanting  to  buy  Ben's 
house?  Jim  and  I  were  very  fond  of  the  Tamalpais  Road  area,  and 
the  house  we'd  rented  there  for  some  time --which  the  [Robert 
Gordon]  Sprouls  eventually  bought,  by  the  way.   We  didn't  buy  it 
because  it  didn't  get  any  winter  sun.   But  Ben's  house  we 
thought  was  just  perfect,  and  when  he  said  he  wanted  to  sell  it, 
we  approached  him  about  it,  and  he  agreed. 

We  had  gotten  to  the  point  where  we  even  measured  the  rooms 
and  rugs  and  furniture,  and  one  morning  we  came  down  to  pick  up 
the  paper,  and  underneath  the  paper  was  a  little  note  from  Ben 
saying,  "I  cannot  part  with  the  house  in  which  I  have  lived  with 
Judith  Anderson."  And  we  were  absolutely  stunned!   We  were  just 
heartbroken  about  not  getting  that  house.   That  was  it! 

1  know  that  that  one  time  when  he  had  that  house- -and  he 
was  a  very  fine  gardener- -some  neighbor  saw  him  walking  around 
in  the  garden  and  said,  "I  don't  think  there's  anybody  in 
Berkeley  that's  more  lonely  than  Ben  Lehman."   So  that  must  have 
been  a  time  when  he  had  no  wife. 

Riess:     When  he  married  Henriette  Durham,  did  they  live  in  Berkeley  at 

Caldwell:   No,  they  didn't.   When  she  was  married  to  Bull  Durham,  they  did. 
And  that  was  very  amusing,  because  Bull  had  a  small  house  up 
near  Grizzly  Peak,  in  that  area.   It  was  a  small  house,  and  then 
he  married  Henriette  and  they  had  to  have  a  bigger  house.   He 
always  said  that  his  was  Just  the  tail,  then,  on  this  main  house 


[laughs].  They  lived  there  quite  a  little  while, 
entertained  there. 

Ve  used  to  be 

But  no,  Ben  went  down  to  Saratoga  when  he  married 
Henriette.   Someone  said  the  other  day,  someone  that  knew 
Henriette  very  well,  said  that  she  could  never  bear  to  be  alone, 
just  couldn't  bear  to  be  alone.   That's  interesting  to  me, 
because  I  am  a  great  admirer  of  Henriette,  I  think  she's  one  of 
the  most  remarkable  women  I  ever  knew. 

Riess :     Where  did  she  come  from? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  really  know,  except  that  we  were  told- -you  know,  these 
things  can  be  rumors- -that  she  was  one  of  the  wealthiest  women 
in  the  state  of  California.   The  reason- -well,  this  may  just  be 
folklore- -the  reason  she  was  so  wealthy  was  because  she  had  so 
many  maiden  aunts  who  had  died  and  left  their  money  to  her. 
Now,  whether  that's  true  or  not  I  have  no  idea. 

A  Storv  About  Muriel  Rukeyser 

Caldwell:   Henriette  and  my  mother  became  very  great  friends.   The  thing 
about  Henriette  was  she  was  enormously  generous,  but  she  was 
always  anonymous.   I'm  told- -again,  this  is  probably  an 
exaggeration- -that  if  the  symphony  or  the  opera  had  a  deficit 
they'd  appeal  to  her  and  she'd  pick  up  the  tab.   Now,  to  what 
extent--.   Anyway,  she  never  wanted  to  be  given  credit  for  her 

She  and  my  mother  were  allied  in  the  support  of --turn  that 
off  Just  a  minute,  I  must  think  of  her  name.   [pauses]   Muriel 
Rukeyser.   My  mother  and  Henriette  decided  to  finance  this  woman 
through  her  pregnancy.   And  you  can  imagine  years  ago  this  was 
something!  They  insisted  that  she  must  have  a  ring  when  she  was 
in  the  hospital,  or  the  nurses  would  not  like  it.   So  they 
financed  this . 

For  years  and  years  and  years,  Muriel  would  not  say  who  was 
the  father  of  this  child.   It  was  a  boy,  turned  out  to  be  very 
successful,  1  think  in  Journalism  [William  L.  Rukeyser]. 
Anyway,  she  decided  to  tell  who  the  father  was,  and  you'll  just 
never  believe  it!   It  was  one  of  Robinson  Jeffers's  sons.   She 
said  they  had  "a  toss  in  the  hay"  after  a  cocktail  party. 
That's  what  I  heard. 

Riess:     [laughs]  That's  a  great  story! 


You  said  Henrietta  and  your  mother  were  friends? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  down  at  Los  Gatos.  Henriette  lived  nearby,  in  Saratoga. 

We  used  to  see  a  lot  of  her.   Jim  and  I  used  to  go  over  and  swim 
at  the  pool  at  Henrietta's  place,  and  we  became  very  good 
friends.  And  later  Jim,  because  of  the  friendship  with  Albert 
Elkus,  was  on  the  board  of  the  Conservatory  of  Music  in  San 
Francisco,  and  he  saw  a  lot  of  Henriette  that  way.   And  of 
course,  when  she  was  married  to  Bull  here  in  Berkeley,  we  saw  a 
lot  of  her. 

Riess:     So  at  first  she  was  down  there,  and  then  married  Durham  here. 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes.  She  had  her  children  by  a  man  named  Goodrich,  and  then 
subsequently  married  Bull,  and  then  after  that,  married  Ben.  Ve 
were  at  the  marriage  of  her  daughter  Carol,  my  husband  and  I,  in 
the  house  down  in  Saratoga. 

Riess:     These  people  are  almost  larger  than  life,  really. 

Caldwell:   [laughs]   Yes.   Muriel  Rukeyser  was  a  great  friend  of  Marie 
Welch-West.   She  and  my  mother  were  very  close  friends. 

Una  and  Robinson  Jeffers.  and  a  Letter.  1929 

Riess:     Please  tell  me  about  the  poem  that  you  found  when  you  found  the 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes,  I  wrote  it  for  my  mother's  birthday,  September  1,  1925. 
Riess:     Would  you  read  it? 
Caldwell:   You  read  it. 

Riess:     "Because  you  always  tried  to  penetrate/  The  intricacies  of  our 
little  minds/  Inquisitively  tense,  insatiate;/  Destroyed  the 
taunting  terrors  ignorance  binds/  Us  with;  created  fairy  worlds 
never  betrayed/  The  whispered  confidences  shyly  made. /Loved  our 
companionship  nor  sought  to  hide/  Earth's  cycle  birth  and  death, 
identified/  Yourself  with  each  maturing  mood,/  Yours  no  outgrown 
indifferent  gratitude . " 

Caldwell:   [laughs]  Pretty  bad. 

Here,  this  is  a  lovely  letter  I  got  from  Una  Jeffers.   It's 
about  not  coming  to  my  wedding.   It  was  written  from 


Cornwall --November  13,  1929.   I  was  married  on  the  first  of 

"Kay,  my  dear.  Do  accept  our  loving  wishes  for  your 
happiness  even  if  so  belated  in  their  expression.  Char 
thoughts  have  turned  to  you  often  and  often.   Now  I  am 
hearing  from  many  people  of  the  exquisite  beauty  of  your 
wedding  and  of  your  radiant  self.   Just  yesterday  a  letter 
from  Ben  Lehman  caught  us  at  [Zennor?]  and  he  was  lyrical 
about  it  all.   Sara  and  Erskine  and  their  home  and  life 
have  become  to  many  of  us  a  symbol  of  love  and  beauty  and 
these  gracious  amenities  which  make  one  forget  the  bitter 
harsh  thing  life  can  be.  One  loves  living  thinking  of 
them.   I  think  you  were  lucky  indeed  to  be  married,  from 
their  house,  surrounded  by  their  love. 

"I  am  enclosing  a  photograph  of  Caldwell  Tower  which  may 
interest  you  if  your  Jim's  family  is  Scotch.   It  has  been 
until  recently  in  the  Caldwell  family  since  it  was  built  in 
the  XV  Century.   There  is  an  old  book  of  annals  of  the 
family  Muir  (or  Mure)  of  Caldwell  telling  most  thrilling 
history  of  it.   Our  connection  with  it  is  this:  A  relative 
of  mine,  by  marriage,  owns  a  little  house  near  there  and  we 
stayed  with  her  (Renfrewshire,  Scotland).  A  year  ago  she 
acquired  this  tower  which  stands  alone  on  a  high  hill  near 
her  (and  beneath  it  the  road  and  the  spot  where  Queen  Mary 
halted  after  the  battle  of  Langside) .   She  is  restoring  it 
inside  to  its  original  shape,  finding  secret  closets  and 
niches  and  so  on,  getting  the  fireplaces  cleaned  out. 
Robin,  the  boys  and  I  had  a  delightful  time  about  it.   The 
excrescence  on  the  side  is  temporary,  a  storm  porch  to 
enable  her  to  get  to  the  upper  parlor  or  bower  during  the 
winter  when  the  wind  and  swirling  hail  and  snow  sweep  one 
off  his  feet.   A  better  thing  is  to  be  [designed?].   The 
other  sides  have  more  windows. 

"We  have  had  so  happy  and  thrilling  a  time  over  here, 
questing  after  those  beautiful  ancient,  inexplicable  Round 
Towers  in  Ireland,  then  careening  all  over  Scotland  during 
the  gorgeous  September  weather,  gazing  on  these  proud 
splendid  Highlanders  assembled  in  kilts  and  plaids  for  the 
Highland  games  at  Oban  and  Inverness.   Going  up  to  John 
0' Groats,  bare  wild  free  country  and  the  air  like  wine. 
Now  we  are  in  Cornwall,  and  this  hotel  is  on  the  shore  just 
opposite  the  superb  pile  of  St.  Michael's  Mount.   There  has 
been  a  raging  storm  and  it  is  entirely  cut  off  from  the 
mainland.   I  am  happy.  We  are  never  at  ease  away  from  the 



Caldwell : 




Caldwell : 

"I  am  drooping  with  sleep  as  1  hang  over  our  little  bed- 
sitting  room  fireplace.   How  eternally  surprised  they  all 
are  here  that  we  Americans  demand  a  living  temperature  in 
the  house  when  we  are  not  exercising.  Our  sons  were 
thirteen  several  days  ago.   Such  gay  and  husky  travellers. 
Cheerful,  rain  or  shine.   0  Kay,  I  love  being  married  and 
having  a  household!   I'm  happy  for  you! 
Affectionately,  Una  Jeffers." 

[Caldwell  and  Riess  look  at  collection  of  photographs  of  the 
Jefferses  with  Colonel  Wood  and  Sara  Bard  Field  and  other 
friends .  Una  on  the  beach  surrounded  by  the  boulders  that 
Jeffers  hauled  up  to  build  Tor  House.] 

This  is  a  great  collection. 
Bancroft  Library? 

Do  you  want  to  give  these  to  The 

That's  what  I'd  like  to  do.   I  infuriated  a  Japanese  scholar  one 
time  because  I  wouldn't  let  him  print  these. 

Why  do  you  have  these  pictures? 

My  mother  had  them.   Una  has  written  on  the  back  of  some  of 
them.   They  represent  two  different  occasions. 

Jeffers  is  handsome. 

Oh,  you  fell  in  love  with  that  man.   Women  were  always  trying  to 
lure  him  away.   Mabel  Luhan  was  the  one  who  finally  got  them  to 
come  visit  her,  you  know.  This  is  a  cute  picture  of  the  boys, 
Garth  and  Donan.   And  here,  this  is  Ella  Winter,  and  Pete 
[Steffens] . 

Were  Una  Jeffers  and  your  mother  good  women  friends? 

We  never  thought  of  them  pairing  off  socially.   I  never  thought 
of  them  in  those  terms.   We  more  or  less  visited  in  a  group. 
And  after  all,  we  weren't  neighbors.   When  we'd  go  there  we'd  be 
going  for  a  picnic,  and  it  was  kind  of  a  special  occasion. 

This  is  an  interesting  picture.  This  is  Lincoln  Steffens, 
and  me,  and  the  boys,  and  Una  and  Robin  and  Pops  [standing  by 
Cadillac  touring  car] . 

Did  you  stay  with  the  Jefferses  when  you  went  down? 

Oh,  no,  not  at  all.  We  stayed  with  Noel  Sullivan.  The 
Jefferses  didn't  ever  have  guests  overnight,  as  far  as  I  know. 
I  never  heard  of  anybody  staying  with  them.  Maybe  they  did  with 




relatives  or  friends  they  had  known  longer.   But  we  never 
thought  in  terms  of  staying  with  them.   We  would  go  and  have 
lunch  and  have  a  daytime  visit  maybe  for  a  couple  of  hours.  And 
then  we  would  go,  either  back  to  Noel  Sullivan's,  or  the  Peter 
Pan  Inn. 

Mother  speaks  in  her  oral  history  about  staying  at  a  place 
called  the  Peter  Pan  Inn,  or  lodge.   The  women  who  started  the 
Carmel  Bach  Festival  had  a  place  called  the  Peter  Pan  Inn.   And 
when  Mother  and  Pops  went  to  the  Bach  Festival  concerts  they 
would  stay  either  with  Noel  or  stay  at  the  Peter  Pan. 

Una's  letter  suggests  she  had  a  great  fondness  for  you. 

Yes,  well,  you  see,  she  was  the  one  that  would  talk.   Jeffers 
didn't  talk  to  you  very  much.   He  had  a  few  monosyllabic 
comments.  Una  was  folksy,  she  was  outgoing.  Jeffers- -I  never 
thought  he  was  in  any  way  unfriendly,  or  withdrawn,  he  just 
wasn't  a  man  of  words.   He  was  not  a  person  with  whom  you  had  an 
interchange,  exactly.  We  just  accepted  that. 

An  Evening  with  Dylan  Thomas .  19A9 

Riess:     Margaret  Owings  in  her  oral  history  describes  introducing 
Jeffers  and  Dylan  Thomas . * 

Caldwell:   That  I  don't  know  about.   I  only  know  about  Dylan  Thomas  at  our 
house  in  Berkeley.   That's  all  I  know. 

Riess:     I  would  like  to  hear  that  story.  That  was  when? 

Caldwell:  That  was  during  the  loyalty  oath  controversy.  That  had  to  be 

My  husband  was  very  much  involved  with  it  [loyalty  oath 
controversy]  for  a  long  time  and  held  out  for  a  long  time,  and 
there  were  frantic  meetings,  meetings  all  the  time.  The  non- 
signers-  -and  there  were  about  twenty-nine,  I  think- -were  getting 
together  and  planning  their  strategy.   And  my  husband  was  under 
frightful  pressure  because  while  he  eventually  did  sign  he 
didn't  want  to  at  all,  and  he  was  working  with  the  non-signers. 

1  pp.  255-256,  Margaret  Wentworth  Owings,  Artist,  and  Wildlife  and 
Environmental  Defender.  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  UC  Berkeley,  1991. 


At  that  point  Jim  was  chairman  of  the  English  department, 
for  the  summer- -this  was  in  the  summer—and  Dylan  Thomas  was 
scheduled  to  give  a  reading.  Before  he  came  to  our  house  he 
[Dylan  Thomas]  had  made  an  appointment  with  Jim,  to  meet  him  to 
talk  about  the  details  of  the  lecture,  where  it  would  be  and  all 
of  that,  and  he  broke  the  appointment.  Jim  had  had  to  leave  a 
strategic  loyalty  oath  conference  in  order  to  meet  Thomas,  who 
was  a  no -show.  He  was  a  no -show  with  everybody;  everybody  was 
infuriated  with  him.   Even  for  a  dinner  party  that  Mark  Schorer 
had  given  for  him  he  was  a  no -show. 

But  Jim  was  beside  himself  with  rage  because  he  had  left 
this  important  loyalty  oath  meeting.   And  remembering  that 
Thomas's  last  appearance,  which  I  think  was  at  Princeton,  he  was 
so  drunk  that  he  had  fallen  down,  Jim  wanted  to  talk  to  him  and 
wanted  to  be  sure  he  would  be  sober.  He  spoke  to  him  very 

Then,  because  Jim  was  to  introduce  him,  we  invited  him  to 
dinner.  Mark  Schorer  was  out  of  town,  and  Jim  was  taking  his 
place  as  chairman,  so  there  was  just  Ruth  Schorer,  Jim  Caldwell, 
Dylan  Thomas,  and  myself  at  the  dinner.  The  conversation  simply 
didn't  flow  at  all.   The  only  responses  Dylan  Thomas  would  make 
were,  "Oh,  yes,  is  it  so."   "Is  it  so."   "Oh,  yes."  Absolutely 
nothing  but  that  kind  of  meaningless,  if  you  can  call  it 
response.   It  was  a  most  unpleasant  occasion. 

Then  we  went  down  to  the  campus  and  we  found  that  the  room 
which  was  assigned  to  Dylan  Thomas  had  been  filled  maybe  two 
hours  earlier,  and  there  was  a  line,  heaven  knows  how  long, 
trying  to  get  into  this  rather  small  lecture  hall.  The  large 
Wheeler  Hall  auditorium  had  a  very  famous  archaeologist,  art 
historian,  who  was  lecturing  there  with  a  handful  of  people, 
embarrassingly  few.   So  they  switched.  And  Wheeler  Auditorium 
filled  up  just  in  no  time  at  all  with  admirers  of  Thomas. 

Ruth  Schorer  and  I  sat  down  rather  close  to  the  front, 
waiting  for  the  introduction,  and  Jim  gave,  of  course,  a  very 
gracious  introduction.   And  then  Dylan  Thomas  took  an  enormous 
breath- -we  were  sitting  in  about  the  fourth  row  and  we  could 
hear  this  great  intake  of  breath- -and  as  he  exhaled  he  said,  "Do 
not  go  gently  into  that  good  night..." 

His  recitation  of  the  poem  was  so  beautiful,  and  he  didn't 
make  any  prefatory  remarks;  he  didn't  acknowledge  the  person  who 
had  introduced  him,  or  that  he  was  at  the  University  of 
California  or  anything.   He  simply  plunged  into  the  "spouting," 
as  Jim  would  have  said,  of  his  poetry.  And  it  was  so  moving 
that  we  forgot  any  hostility,  or  lack  of  approval  we  might  have 
had  of  him.   I  never  can  imagine  anybody  reading  with  such 

fervor  and  depth, 
still,  you  know. 


And  he  had  the  whole  auditorium  Just  so 

After  it  was  over  there  was  a  group  of  students  waiting  to 
entertain  him.   And  we  learned  that  he  simply  loathed  being  with 
faculty,  that  he  couldn't  wait  to  go  with  these  far-out  graduate 
students,  who  took  him  off  to  a  party.  And  that's  my  story 
about  Dylan  Thomas . 

I  must  say  that  he  was  cold  sober  for  the  reading.  To  my 
surprise,  Tom  Parkinson,  who  also  comments  on  Dylan  Thomas's 
appearance  here- -not  at  our  house- -says  quite  mistakenly  that  he 
was  drunk,  but  he  was  not.  And  for  the  reasons  1  have  given 
you,  I  knew  perfectly  well  that  he  was  just  as  sober  as  you 
could  possibly  wish.   [Dylan  Thomas  did  visit  Berkeley  again. 

But  I  feel  sorry  to  have  to  say  that,  because  Jim  was 
usually  such  a  sympathetic  person,  but  he  was  overwrought  with 
the  anxiety  of  the  loyalty  oath.   In  retrospect  I  feel  sorry 
that  this  hostility  existed.   But  he  was  exercising  his 
responsibility  as  a  department  chairman  and  getting  that  speaker 
on  the  stage  in  a  state  where  he  could  actually  communicate. 

The  Lovaltv  Oath 

Riess:     About  the  loyalty  oath,  because  Jim  was  on  the  ACLU  board,  did 

that  complicate  his  thinking?  And  that  he  represented  something 
more  than  himself? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  I  think  you  are  right  about  that,  I  think  that  intensified 
his  anxiety  about  signing  the  oath.   Did  you  want  to  talk  about 
the  oath? 

Riess:     Yes. 

Caldwell:  The  thing  of  it  was  that  he  was  such  a  hard-working  member  of 
the  group  opposing  the  Regents.   And  I  think  nobody  could  ever 
believe  that  the  Regents  would  take  such  an  attitude  toward  the 
faculty,  but  they  did. 

Riess:     Jim  was  in  [Edward  Chase]  Tolman's  group. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  he  and  Tolman  were  dear  friends.   He  was  definitely  a 
member  of  Tolman's  group.   And  Tolman  was  simply 
wonderful --Muscatine  was  in  that  group  too,  of  non-signers- -you 
couldn't  imagine  anybody  more  understanding. 





When  Jim  finally,  at  the  very  end,  defected  from  the  group 
and  signed,  nobody  could  have  been  more  understanding  than 
Tolman.  He  said,  "After  all,  Jin,  most  of  us  in  this  group  have 
independent  means,  and  it's  easy  for  us."  He  just  said 
everything  you  could  possibly  think  of  trying  to  ease  the  pain 
that  Jim  had  in  making  this  decision. 

You  and  Jim  had  talked  about  what  it  would  mean  if  he  signed. 

Well,  he  worried  very  much  about  the  economic  side,  but  I  think 
that  wasn't  the  fundamental  reason  that  he  didn't  do  it. 

I  forgot  to  say  that  George  Stewart  was  influential  in 
Jim's  making  the  decision  to  sign.   George  Stewart  was  older 
than  Jim- -I  think  he  was  retired—and  to  my  great  annoyance--. 
I  didn't  want  Jim  to  sign,  and  neither  did  the  children- -though 
it  was  easy  enough  for  us,  of  course,  to  take  that  view,  we 
didn't  have  economic  responsibility  for  the  family. 

In  any  case,  George  used  to  annoy  me- -but  I  was  fond  of 
George  personally- -because  he  used  to  come  down  and  sort  of  turn 
up  late  morning  or  early  afternoon  to  talk  to  Jim  and  try  to--. 
He  said,  "Jim,  you  should  sign  it  because  you  can  have  much  more 
influence  within  the  faculty,  staying  on  the  faculty,  to  get  rid 
of  the  loyalty  oath." 

That  was  Stewart's  line,  that  it  isn't  that  you  just 
supinely  accept  the  fact  that  this  indignity  had  been  put  upon 
the  faculty,  but  you  would  be  able  more  effectively  to  eliminate 
it  by  staying  on.  And  you  know,  he  [Stewart]  wrote  that  book 
called  The  Year  of  the  Oath.   This,  of  course,  was  a  kind  of 
rationalization  for  Jim,  I  suppose  we  might  call  it,  for  signing 
it.  He  did  provide  a  lot- -Jim  did  provide  a  lot- -of  material 
for  Stewart's  book  on  the  oath. 

Sounds  like  the  English  department  was  a  real  crucible. 

Yes,  that  is  really  true.   Of  course  there  were  other 
departments,  and  there  were  all  kinds  of  subterfuges.   I  heard 
there  was  one  young  man  in  the  oriental  languages  department  and 
the  faculty  would  employ  him  under  the  table,  so  to  speak,  as  a 
TA.   They'd  pay  him  out  of  their  own  pockets.   He  was  a  non- 
signer  and  he  had  lost  his  income,  so  his  colleagues  took  it 
upon  themselves  to  pay  him. 


Ben  Lehman  said  in  his  oral  history, 
academic  freedom." 

'Too  much  fuss  about 


Caldwell:  That,  of  course,  infuriated  Jim.  The  thing  of  it  is,  because 

Jim  felt  so  strongly  about  this  and  held  out  for  so  long,  I  have 
always  thought  that  this  did  more  to  undermine  his  health  and 
contribute  to  his  heart  trouble  than  anything.  His  whole  life, 
his  health  was  undermined  by  the  strain  of  all  of  this.   That's 
my  view.   I  don't  mean  that  any  doctor  ever  said  that.  My 
daughter  agrees  with  this,  that  the  strain  was  just  too  much. 

Riess:     Did  he  lose  friends  over  it? 

Caldwell:  There  was  a  coldness  that  developed  with  one  or  two  friends  who 
had  signed  and  felt  that  it  was  not  the  right  thing  for  the  non- 
signers  to  take  the  point  of  view  that  they  had  taken.   Ed 
Strong- -Jim  and  Ed  Strong,  we  had  a  very  close  friendship  with 
them,  they  used  to  come  up  to  our  mountain  cabin  with  their 
family,  and  their  children  and  our  children  would  play  together. 
And  there  was  a  coldness  that  developed  there. 

Riess:     How  about  for  you?  Did  you  stand  back? 

Caldwell:   [laughs]  You  know,  I  was  so  upset  that  Jim  did  sign  it  that--. 
But  on  the  other  hand,  he  was  the  one  that  had  the 
responsibility.   It  wasn't  anything  that  we  had  any  kind  of 
difficulty  about  talking  about,  but  I  was  very  disappointed. 

Riess:     With  the  liberal  background  you  came  from. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  it  seemed  a  terrible  thing.   But  I  also  felt  sorry  for  him 
and  realized  the  pressures  on  him.  We  talked  about  it,  and  I 
said  I'd  be  willing  to  take  the  consequences  of  not  signing- -and 
it  was  interesting  that  the  children,  even  Dan,  got  interested 
in  this- -he  was  so  much  younger,  I  mean. 

Riess:     Did  they  pick  it  up  at  school?  Or  was  it  listening  at  home? 

Caldwell:   Listening  to  us  talk.   That's  interesting.   I  don't  think  that 
they  ever  talked  about  it  with  their  little  friends.   Though 
after  all,  they  were  pretty  grown  up. 

A  Woman ' B  Place .  Women  Friends 

Caldwell:  I  have  to  say,  for  all  the  atmosphere  of  equality  between  men 
and  women  with  which  I  was  brought  up,  my  feeling  about  Jim's 
profession  was  that  it  was  his  world,  and  I  didn't  enter  into 
it.  Maybe  it  was  partly  because  I  did  have  my  own  profession, 


but  also  -I  felt  that  this  was  something  that  had  to  be 
respected—Jim's  decision  and  his  life  on  campus. 

In  those  days,  even  in  the  English  department,  the  attitude 
was  that—women  can't  believe  it  now,  I'm  sure  —  that  the  woman's 
sphere  was  domestic.   It  was  very  old-fashioned.  One  of  the 
reasons  that  Jim  and  I  never  had  the  members  of  just  one 
department,  the  English  department,  as  guests  at  a  dinner  party, 
was  so  that  it  wouldn't  become,  as  Jim  would  say,  a  department 

Jim  did  not  approve  of  a  social  occasion  being  turned  into 
a  localized  departmental  gathering.   So  many  parties  I  went  to 
at  that  time,  at  other  people's  houses,  the  men- -they  didn't  go 
into  another  room,  as  they  did  earlier  on,  excusing  themselves 
from  the  ladies  to  have  coffee  and  brandy,  but  they  did  group 
themselves  in  one  part  of  the  room,  separate.  The  women 
supposedly  were  talking  about  recipes --it  makes  me  think  of  how 
Hillary  [Rodham  Clinton]  was  pilloried- -and  bargains  in  the 
stores  and  so  on. 

That  wasn't,  of  course,  universally  true,  and  our  little 
group  within  the  English  department  with  a  number  of  people,  the 
Clines  and  Bronsons,  that  group  always  was  completely  gathered 
together  on  an  equal  basis.   We  felt  very  superior  and  advanced 
compared  to  all  the  old  fogies.  That  was  an  interesting  point, 
and  I  think  that  was  what  set  aside  this  small  more  advanced, 
more  modern  group  within  the  English  department  to  which  Jim 

I  think  also  that  they  [the  group]  were  somewhat  resented; 
they  felt  we  were  being  very  elitist  and  withdrawn  from  the 
rest.   There  was  a  little  feeling  of- -I  don't  know  whether  it 
was  jealously  or  hostility  or  what,  but  anyway,  we  were  quite 
definitely  separated  out  as  a  group  within  the  English 
department,  a  sort  of  coterie. 

Riess:     The  group  you  had  lunch  with,  the  Sanfords  and  Rowellses,  would 
they  have  been  included? 

Caldwell:  As  husbands  and  wives,  yes.  The  Sanfords --their  daughter, 

incidentally,  lives  here  in  town  now,  and  I  was  talking  with  her 
yesterday  about  her  mother- -Christine  Sanford  was  a  very  strong 
character,  stronger  than  any  woman  you  have  ever  known  in  your 
life.   She's  the  one,  she  and  Margaret  Rowell,  had  these  women's 
lunches  that  I  think  you  are  referring  to. 

Riess:     Nevitt  Sanford  was  a  non- signer.   I  wondered  whether  you  talked 
about  that  oath  at  the  lunches . 


Caldwell:  We  probably  did  talk  about  it,  but  it  doesn't  stand  out  in  my 

mind.  My  feelings  were  so  intense  about  Jim's  part  in  this,  and 
the  reputation  of  the  University,  the  way  we  had  always  loved 
the  University.   All  of  those  things,  those  feelings  were  much 
stronger  than  any  discussion  of  it  outside  the  house. 

Riess:     With  that  group  of  women,  you  wouldn't  have  been  talking  about 
recipes?  What  would  you  talk  about? 

Caldwell:  Oh  no,  we  were  a- -a  bluestocking  group  you  would  have  called  it 
in  New  England.  And  we  had  a  lot  in  common,  because  we  talked 
about  ideas,  and  books,  and  politics.  We  were  drawn  together. 
It  was  just  a  natural  attraction. 

Kathleen  Tolman,  she  was  an  extremely  important  person  in 
my  life- -I  have  always  admired  her,  over  and  above  the  fact  that 
she  was  the  wife  of  the  man  who  led  the  loyalty  oath. 

We  would  argue.  Christine  Sanford  was  such  a  strong 
personality.   I  remember  a  time  one  of  the  women  went  home  in 
tears,  just  left  in  the  middle  of  the  group.   Christine  was  a 
steamroller  personality.  Jim  Caldwell,  when  he  first  met  her  he 
couldn't  stand  her.  Then  he  grew,  as  everybody  else  did,  to  be 
an  ardent  admirer  of  her.   There  was  nothing  that  she  wouldn't 
say  if  she  thought  it.   And  she  not  only  would  disagree,  but  she 
wouldn't  let  go  of  the  argument. 

I  remember  one  time  going  to  a  dinner  party  at  the 
Sanford' s  and  the  guest  of  honor  was  a  clergyman,  and  he  just 
mentioned,  in  the  course  of  the  conversation,  that  he  had 
changed  from  the  King  James  version  of  the  Bible  to  the  modern 
one.   Christine  Sanford  was  simply  furious.   She  would  not  drop 
it  for  the  entire  evening.   She  simply  tore  him  to  pieces.  And 
he  was  her  guest,  you  know.   [laughter]  But  somehow  or  other 
her  honesty  and  her  essential  good  nature  weighed  favorably  in 
her  favor. 

Josephine  Miles 

Caldwell : 

We  were  talking  about  women  in  the  English  department. 
Josephine  Miles  there? 


Oh,  that  was  much  later,  much  later.  Well,  not  all  that  much 
later,  because  actually,  when  she  came,  Jim  was  teaching  the 
poetry  course. 


She  was  a  graduate  student,  and  I'll  never  forget  the  first 
time  I  saw  Josephine.   Ve  used  to  have  Jim's  students  in 
socially,  oftentimes,  at  our  house,  instead  of  meeting  on  the 
campus.   She  was  brought  in- -carried  in,  of  course,  and  that's 
something  you  can't  avoid  being  curious  about- -and  then 
everybody  read  their  poetry  before  Josephine. 

I  was  terribly,  terribly  tired--!  guess  my  daughter  then 
was  a  baby- -but  then  all  of  a  sudden  Josephine  read,  and  it  was 
electrifying.  Even  then,  as  a  graduate  student,  her  poetry  was 
so  outstanding  that  it  just  brought  you  to  life  to  hear  her.  I 
was  so  impressed  by  her.  That  was  my  first  memory  of  Josephine 
as  a  graduate  student,  and  how  remarkably  alive  her  poetry  was. 

Riess:     Was  it  the  delivery,  or  the  person--? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  no,  no,  her  delivery  was  very  bad.   Jim  used  to  tell  her 

that.   She  didn't  have  to  do  this  on  account  of  her  disability, 
but  she  put  her  head  down  and  kind  of  mumbled  her  words.   Jim 
used  to  tell  her  she  should  speak  out. 

Riess:     Tell  me  more  about  Josephine  Miles. 

Caldwell:   Josephine  Miles  was  a  person  who,  by  her  own  observation,  was 

limited  in  her  experience  of  life.   She  couldn't  have  love,  she 
couldn't  have  freedom  of  movement  to  travel  to  the  great 
capitals  of  Europe  or  anything.   She  was  limited,  but  to  her  own 
amazement,  and  her  own  observation,  young  people  would  spill  out 
to  her  all  their  marital  problems,  their  anxieties  about  their 
Ph.D.s--of  course  she  knew  about  that- -whatever .  They  would 
tell  her  the  intimate  details  of  their  lives  and  expect  her  to 
make  comment. 

She  would  say,  "Here  1  am,  unable  ever  to  experience  the 
kind  of  experiences  they  have,  but  they  seem  to  want  my 
counsel."  That's  because  she  was  such  a  wonderful  listener. 
She  just  loved  people,  and  it  didn't  matter  whether  it  was  the 
passing  plumber  or  gardener,  or  some  visitor  from  Oxford.   She 
could  absorb,  experience,  through  other  people  more  intently 
than  anyone  I've  ever  known. 

Because  of  her  way  of  living  in  the  world  she  couldn't 
physically  experience  the  experiences  of  others,  and  therefore 
she  concentrated  her  whole  being  on  listening  to  them.  And  so 
you  can  imagine --every one  likes  to  hear  themselves  talk,  but 
these  young  students,  can  you  imagine,  with  all  their  pressing 
problems?  During  the  Depression- -she  was  always  very 
hospitable,  and  she  always  offered  some  kind  of  nourishment, 
food  and  drink- -during  the  Depression  these  students  would 


hungrily  grab  for  the  food  and  nourish  themselves  on  what  they 
were  offered.  She  mentioned  this  quite  often,  how  hungry  they 
were.  Obviously  because  they  had  nothing  to  spend  on  food. 

I've  never  known  anyone  who  was  able  to  listen,  whether  it 
was  to  a  personal  account  of  a  problem,  or  whether  it  was  a 
highly  reasoned  intellectual  argument,  like  Josephine.   She'd 
kind  of  half -close  her  eyes  when  somebody  was  giving  a  lecture. 
One  time  there  was  a  philosopher  whom  everyone  found  difficult 
to  understand,  and  Josephine,  quietly  half -closing  her  eyes  and 
concentrating,  asked  the  most  pertinent  questions,  but  not  in 
technical  language.  Other  people  would  rather  pretentiously 
phrase  their  questions  in  such  a  way  that  it  sounded  as  if  they 
were  well-versed  in  the  speaker's  views,  but  Josephine  in  the 
most  simple  language  would  put  her  finger  right  on  the  most 
important  topic.  Amazing  mind. 

Her  mother  should  be  given  unlimited  praise  for  the  way  she 
handled  her  daughter's  disability.  And  there  was  never  any 
sense ,  around  Josephine ,  that  you  should  not  mention  her 
affliction.   I  remember  once  when  Josephine  was  being  carried 
through  my  garden,  some  kids  next  door  said,  "What's  the  matter 
with  you?"  She  said,  "Well,  my  legs  don't  work  very  well." 

She  never  felt  any  defense  or  apology  for  her  condition, 
because  her  mother  had  established  the  pattern  in  the  household 
of  accepting  the  situation.   She  was  born,  you  know,  completely 
normal.   The  first  four  years  of  her  life  she  was  a  normal 
child,  and  then  this  dreadful  affliction  overcame  her. 

Jim  Caldwell's  Teaching,  and  His  Personality 

Riess:     You  said  Jim  taught  poetry  then? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   At  that  time  he  did.   Later  on  he  was  glad  to  give  up  the 
poetry  class.  When  Josephine  became  a  member  of  the  faculty,  he 
was  very,  very  glad  to  turn  it  over  to  her. 

Riess:     What  are  the  thorny  aspects  of  teaching  the  poetry  class? 

Caldwell:   I  really  shouldn't  comment  on  that  very  much,  because  I've  never 
taught  it,  but  I  think  it's  just  more  difficult  to  present. 

Riess:  His  qualities  as  a  teacher  from  the  In  Memoriam  statement  were 
interesting  to  me.  It  reads,  "The  great  characteristic  of  the 
poetic  state,  he  taught,  was  a  special  freedom  and  richness  of 


feeling,  a  great  and  bold  marshalling  of  consciousness.   Poetry 
is  a  great  act  of  emancipation,  which  is  still  an  act  of 
infinitely  complex  and  firm  control.  Maximal  freedom,  and  the 
maximum  order- -can  we  not  turn  back  to  life  for  this  value, 
leaving  all  possible  room  for  that  difference  between  the 
consciousness  of  art  and  the  mind  of  life?" 

Riess:     You  lived  in  the  midst  of  people  who  believed  in  poetry. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  that  is  true.   Although  I  have  to  say  that  when  it  came  to 
interaction  with  the  students,  to  me  I  was  very  separated  from 
them,  except  these  occasions  when  they  would  come  to  the  house. 
I  think  it  was  also  because  I  was  so  enormously  involved  in  my 
own  work.   So  my  association  with  Jim  intellectually  on  the 
poetic  side  was  more  in  connection  with  his  own  writing  rather 
than  with  his  teaching  of  it.   I  just  knew  he  was  enormously 
appreciated  as  a  teacher,  and  to  this  day  I'll  meet  people  every 
now  and  then  who  say,  "He  is  my  most  vivid  memory  as  a  teacher, 
and  I'll  never  forget  him,"  and  that  kind  of  thing. 

When  Jim  died,  I  had  many,  many  letters,  a  couple  of 
hundred  letters.   Every  one  of  the  letters,  whether  from  young 
or  old,  "He  was  my  best  friend."  He  gave  a  great  deal  of 
personal  attention  to  his  students.   I  was  always  sorry  he 
didn't  write  more  himself.   He  only  published  one  slight  volume 
of  poetry.   It  was  published  by  Indiana  University  Press. 

Riess:     Did  he  and  Sara  talk  a  lot  about  poetry? 

Caldwell:   Mostly  about  her  poetry,  and  when  Colonel  Wood  was  alive,  about 

Come  to  think  of  it,  that  was  one  thing  about  Jim  that  was 
quite  interesting:  he  always  drew  out  other  people,  gave  himself 
to  other  people.   I  remember  once--.   He  was  a  great  friend  of 
Albert  Elkus  who  was  chairman  of  the  music  department  for  some 
years,  a  charming,  wonderful  man.   I  don't  think  the  oral 
history  program  had  been  instituted,  and  so  you  probably  didn't 
have  Albert's  wonderful  contributions. 

But  Jim  and  Albert  had  lunch  together  quite  frequently,  as 
did  Meiklejohn  and  Jim.   When  Jim  would  come  home,  he  was  always 
talking  about  Albert's  projects  or  Meiklejohn 's  projects,  and  I 
once  said  to  him,  "Do  they  ever  ask  you  about  what  you're 
thinking  and  what  you're  doing?"  "Oh,"  he  said,  "I  never 
thought  of  that.  No,  I  don't  believe  they  do." 

I  think  that  was  also  true  in  respect  to  my  mother  and 
stepfather.  He  was  involved  in  what  they  were  doing,  not  that 


they  weren't  interested  in  what  he  did,  but  he  was  so  remarkable 
a  person  to  draw  others  out  about  what  they  were  focusing  on. 
It  makes  me  realize  how  very  absorbed  I  was  in  my  own  art  world. 

The  literature  of  England  and  the  United  States  were  pretty 
compelling  for  him.  His  interests  were  very  disparate:  the 
Romantic  movement  and  John  Keats,  and  the  Middle  Ages --he  was 
interested  in  Gervaise  of  Tilbury. 

Riess:     And  did  you  become  interested  in  those  interests  of  his? 

Caldwell:   I  was  interested  in  his  grappling  with  the  subject  of 

translation,  the  Medieval  Latin,  but  actually  it  was  surprising 
to  me  that  he  didn't  write  more  poetry  and  stay  more  in  the 
field  in  criticism,  at  which  he  was  excellent.   I  found  it  hard, 
and  so  did  his  friends,  to  understand  why  he  immersed  himself  in 
the  Middle  Ages  at  that  stage  of  his  life. 

Riess:     Did  writing  poetry  come  easily  for  him? 

Caldwell:   Oh  no.   I  don't  think  it  does  to  anyone.  My  experience  with 
poets  is  that  it  is  a  very,  very  slow  birth. 

Riess:     Did  emotions  come  easily  to  him? 
Caldwell:  Oh  yes,  very  definitely  so. 

Riess:     How  was  it  for  you  and  Jim,  two  professionals,  did  you  find  time 
to  discuss  your  work  together? 

Caldwell:   I  so  seldom  mention  my  home  life,  but  actually  I  was  only  a  part 
time  worker.   1  bought  the  groceries  and  cooked  the  meals,  and 
we  had  dinner  together.   And  because  I  was  a  part  time  worker  1 
was  at  home  a  lot  of  the  daytime  too.   I  was  not  away  from  home 
when  my  children  came  home  from  school,  and  I  was  very  much 
interested  in  what  they  were  doing.   I  took  them  to  museums.   It 
took  more  with  my  daughter  than  with  my  son. 

We  always  had  dinner  together  as  a  family,  and  it  was 
always  a  very  lively  kind  of  an  interchange.   We  entered  into 
their  lives  very,  very  fully.   We  were  interested  in  their 
experiences  in  school,  and  in  their  friendships,  and  in  their 
anguish,  as  most  children  have  in  their  adolescent  years  in 
school,  and  their  failures  and  their  triumphs.  Very  much  so,  we 
just  loved  those  children.  And  of  course  in  the  summer  we  had 
the  six  weeks  together  in  the  High  Sierra  where  we  were  just  the 
family,  fishing  and  hiking. 





The  lessons --in  Berkeley  Sara  took  piano  lessons  with 
Estelle  Caen,  who  was  the  sister  of  Herb  Caen.   And  Dan  took 
cello  lessons,  as  you  know,  with  Margaret  Rowell.  And  then  Dan 
studied  with  Gabor  Rejto,  who  was  living  at  Yehudi  Menuhin's,  so 
when  we  were  down  at  Los  Gatos  1  would  take  him  to  Re j  to ' s 
classes,  which  were  so  fascinating  1  couldn't  resist  staying  to 
listen  to  his  teaching.  We  were  very  much  involved  with  our 

And  Jim  was  a  wonderful  listener.   Anything  that  had  to  do 
with  my  relationship  to  my  students,  or  Mills  College,  fine,  the 
details  of  my  profession,  no.   But  that  doesn't  mean  he  wasn't 
interested.   And  he  was  extremely  pleased  when  1  got  the  Job 
there.   I  think  he  was  proud  of  my  ability  to  do  these  things, 
which  might  not  have  been  true  of  many  husbands  at  that  time. 
He  was  a  generous  person,  and  very  caring,  and  1  think  whatever 
made  me  happy,  he  was  happy  to  share  in  that  happiness.   It 
never  occurred  to  me  to  feel  in  any  way  offended  if  he  didn't 
want  to  know  about  Japanese  or  Chinese  art.   That  was  my  world, 
and  he  respected  it. 

And  I  don't  think  that  was  a  general  attitude  on  the  part 
of  husbands  at  that  time.   Now  it  is  just  assumed.   I  ought  to 
make  a  declaration  of  praise  to  my  husband  for  his  cooperation 
in  anything  I  wanted  to  do.   Because  he  was  criticized  for 
having  a  wife  who--.   I  was  criticized,  and  he  was  criticized  I 
think  for  tolerating  [my  professional  life] .   As  I  have 
mentioned  earlier,  in  those  days  married  women  were  housewives 
and  mothers.   They  were  not  professional. 

You  had  women  friends  who  were  professionals.  Margaret  Rowell. 
Her  husband  forbade  her  performing  publicly  after  their 

Yes,  but  my  husband's  colleagues'  wives  were  not,  and  those  were 
my  age  group. 

And  they  didn't  have  children. 

Yes.   They  said  it  was  economic.  Those  women  were  very 
intelligent  and  well-read  people,  you  know.   I  think  they  felt 
sorry  for  Jim  with  this  wife!  But  I  never- -even  in  those  days 
there  was  plenty  of  packaged  food,  but  we  never  had  packaged 
food,  I  always  put  on  a  good  meal.   It's  nice  to  cook.   I  enjoy 


Having  Children 

Caldwell:   You  haven't  really  asked  me  about  the  children,  and  of  course 
that  was  such  an  important  part  of  my  life.   1  would  hate  to 
have  anybody  reading  and  think,  "Didn't  she  ever  care  about  her 
children?"   It  was  an  absolute  obsession. 

Riess:     Tell  me  more  about  them.   When  were  they  born? 

Caldwell:  Dan  was  born  in  '36,  and  Sara  in  '32.  He  was  four  years 
younger . 

Riess:     And  was  this  planned,  the  spacing? 

Caldwell:  Well,  we  didn't  think  about  it  very  much,  and  actually  1  was 
sort  of  surprised  when  I  was  pregnant  with  Sara.   I  was  on  a 
boat  up  the  Sacramento  River  with  some  neighbors  who  became  very 
dear  friends,  and  was  a  little  bit  sick  to  my  stomach,  and 
thought  that  it  was  the  boat.  But  it  turned  out  to  not  be  that. 
Neither  of  the  children  were  planned,  but  we  were  very  happy  to 
have  them.   We'd  always  expected  we'd  have  children,  but  just 
didn't  settle  down  and  say,  "Now,  we're  going  to  decide  to  have 
them . " 

But  then  I  was  completely  absorbed,  absolutely  absorbed  in 
maternity- -buying  clothes,  talking  to  other  people  who  had 
children  about  it,  and  so  on.   I  was  absolutely  derailed  for  a 
while  from  any  kind  of  intellectual  life. 

Riess:     You  were  very  absorbed  in  your  children. 

Caldwell:   I  certainly  was,  and  I  took  a  long  time  out  when  they  were  born, 
I  didn't  work. 

1  nursed  both  my  children,  Sara  not  so  long,  because  we  had 
a  dreadful  nurse  who  said  she  wasn't  getting  enough  nourishment, 
which  wasn't  true.   Well,  she  was  fired  from  this  association  of 
nurses  or  whatever  for  having  done  this.   She  was  dreadful,  a 
martinet,  quite  a  military  person. 

When  1  was  in  the  hospital  with  Sara  I  insisted  on  nursing 
her,  but  those  were  the  days  when  nurses  wanted  to  line  the 
babies  up  and  stick  a  bottle  in  every  baby's  mouth,  and  then 
they  could  see  very  easily  how  much  milk  had  been  consumed,  and 
I  had  a  very  hard  time  maintaining  my  principles.   I  had  a 
highly  enlightened  woman  pediatrician  at  that  time  who  believed 
in  breast-feeding,  but  it  was  not  done.   It  was  just  not  done. 

Katherine  Caldwell  with  her  daughter 
Sara,  1933. 

Photograph  by  Cedric  Wright 

Katherine  Caldwell  and  Sara  Bard  Field  photographed  in  Berkeley,  circa  1945. 

Photograph  by  Cedric  Wright 

Daniel  Ralston  Caldwell,  circa  1953. 

Photograph  by  Carol  Baldwin 


Riess:     How  was  your  mother  Sara  as  a  grandmother?  Was  she  involved? 

Cal dwell:   Oh,  yes,  particularly  with  my  daughter,  who  was  named  for  her. 
She  thought  there  was  nobody  in  the  world  quite  as 
wonderful --except  Colonel  Wood,  and  my  late  brother.   [laughs] 
They  were  her  great  loves:  Colonel  Wood,  my  brother,  and  my 
daughter  Sara. 

Riess:     You  were  in  Berkeley  and  they  were  in  Los  Gatos. 

Cal dwell:   We  would  go  there  quite  frequently,  I  would  say  maybe  once  a 

month.   That  may  be  a  little  exaggerated,  because  when  Jim  was 
teaching,  I'm  sure  we  didn't  go  down  in  the  wintertime. 

Riess:     You  said  your  friends  were  not  having  children? 

Caldwell:   No,  salaries  were  so  low  that  people  just  didn't  have  children, 
in  the  English  department,  anyway.   The  Clines  and  the  Bronsons , 
none  of  these  people,  the  Rosses,  none  of  them  had  children. 
This  was  an  oddity  to  them,  to  have  a  friend  that  had  a  child. 

Riess:     Really?  You  mean  not  until  later? 

Caldwell:  Not  at  all.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  that's  an  interesting  thing, 
because  I  never  held  a  baby  in  my  life  until  my  daughter  was 
born.   The  women  I  knew  among  my  mother's  friends  who,  if  they 
had  a  child  or  wanted  a  child,  maybe  they  had  one  child.   But 
they  were  in  despair.   "What  can  we  do  with  a  child?"  Meaning, 
"I  want  to  write,"  or  "I  want  to  paint,"  or  something. 

Riess:     The  view  was  that  they  were  sort  of  a  handicap? 

Caldwell:  Yes.  My  mother's  sister,  Mary  Parton,  who  had  her  association 
with  Clarence  Darrow,  and  then  married  a  perfectly  charming  man, 
a  newspaper  man,  she  had  one  child,  whose  life  was  very,  very 
difficult,  because  this  child  had  to  be  fitted  into  my  aunt's 
intensely  intellectual  life. 

I  never  grew  up  in  association  with  people  who  had 
"normal,"  Just  plain  American  family  situations.   Either  they 
had  none  at  all,  my  friends,  or  were  artistic  and  literary 
people  for  whom  a  child  was --the  child  was  wanted  but  always  a 

Riess:     I  think  that  that's  sad. 

Caldwell:   I  do  too.   I  was  utterly  and  completely—I  couldn't  think  about 
anything  else  before  Sara  was  born  but  babies,  talked  to  women 
that  had  babies,  read  books.   Unfortunately  I  had  a  very,  very 




pre-Dr.  Spock  book  which  gave  you  all  the  wrong  advice  about 
bringing  up  a  baby,  and  that  was  too  bad.   The  idea  was,  the 
baby  should  be  left  alone  almost  all  the  time,  and  one  hour  a 
day  would  be  allocated  for  your  playing  with  the  baby,  and  I 
used  to  wait  looking  at  my  watch  for  that  time. 

Those  days  when  the  children  were  very  small  were  very  hard 
for  me  because  I  was  used  to  so  much  more  stimulus.   1  really 
feel  sorry  now  that  I  couldn't  enjoy  completely,  as  my  friends 
in  their  thirties,  they  take  time  out  from  their  careers  just  to 
devote  to  their  babies.  None  of  my  friends  did  either,  the  ones 
that  had  children- -not  necessarily  here  in  Berkeley- -who  had 
jobs.  They  all  had  that  feeling  that  they  mustn't  get  out  of 
touch  with  their  work. 

I  don't  think  I  got  the  pleasure  out  of  being  the  mother  of 
an  infant  that  I  could  have.   I  now  look  at  these  women  making 
this  wonderful  bonding  with  their  babies.   My  friends  now  in 
their  thirties  are  so  much  better  mothers  than  any  of  us  in  our 
twenties.   I  was  torn.   I  wanted  the  children,  and  I  loved  them, 
but  1  was  torn  between  loving  them  and  wanting  to  get  back  to  my 

I  have  regrets  about  having  been  split  in  my  interest  at 
that  time,  many  regrets.   I  didn't  have  any  natural  ideas 
about- -I  hadn't  been  with  women  who  took  children  in  their 
stride,  you  know?  Later  on,  I  did. 

The  women  who  didn't  have  babies,  did  they  have  careers? 

Well,  no,  they  didn't,  as  a  matter  of  fact.   Interestingly 
enough,  they  didn't  have  careers.   I  never  thought  of  that 
before.   Mildred  Bronson,  Jane  Cline,  Nancy  Ross- -none  of  them 
had.   Although  Nancy  Ross- -actually  she  had  been  a  T.A.  in  the 
English  department,  1  believe,  at  one  time.   But  she  didn't 
carry  that  on,  and  of  course,  at  that  time,  husband  and  wife 
wouldn't  be  allowed  to  have  a  job  in  the  same  institution. 

And  even  more  interesting  is  the  change  in  the  University. 
In  one  department  here,  there's  a  husband  and  wife  in  the 
Japanese  literature,  both  not  only  in  the  same  department,  but 
in  the  same  field  of  research.   It's  fascinating,  the  right 
about-face  in  the  University  in  regard  to  that. 

It  used  to  thwart  so  many  couples. 

Yes,  it  did.   That's  right.   But  no,  these  women,  they  read  a 
lot,  or  they--I  don't  know  what  they  did,  really!   [laughs] 


Because  my  own  life  when  I  was  working  and  being  a  housewife  was 
so  organized,  and  full. 

Riess:     Did  you  have  a  nurse  or  a  live- in? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no.  No,  only  later  —  at  one  time,  in  the  depth  of  the 

Depression,  we  had  a  marvelous  woman  who  was  utterly  destitute, 
the  way  people  are  now.   She  was  an  uneducated  woman,  but  a 
marvelous  human  being.   She  lived  with  us  for  a  while,  and  had 
her  room  and  board  with  us,  and  a  slight  salary.  But  that  was 
the  only  time.   Mostly  we  managed  without  any  kind  of  help. 

And  oh,  yes,  I  had  a  housecleaner,  the  minute  I  got  a  Job. 
I  loved  gardening,  and  I  loved  cooking,  but  I  loathed  cleaning. 
The  minute  I  got  a  job,  I  bought  a  vacuum  cleaner,  and  hired 
somebody  to  clean  my  house. 

Actually,  at  the  depths  of  the  Depression,  Robert  Gordon  Sproul 
I  think  asked  the  faculty  to  take  a  salary  cut.  1  suppose  that 
sort  of  curtailed  plans  for  a  family  for  some. 

Yes,  I  have  been  told  that  the  fact  that  people  didn't  have 
children  was  because  the  salaries  were  so  low. 

My  mother  and  stepfather  were  very  generous  to  Jim  and  me. 
They  gave  me  a  small  allowance  monthly,  and  then  when  I  had  a 
job  over  at  the  Legion  of  Honor,  my  stepfather  bought  me  a 
little  old  second-hand  car  to  get  there.   So  in  those  ways  very 

Riess:     In  other  words,  they  didn't  see  any  point  in  your  struggling. 

Caldwell:  No.   On  the  other  hand,  we  were  pretty  much  on  our  own,  when  we 
bought  the  house,  for  example. 



A  High  Sierra  Retreat.  Woods  Lake 

Riess:     Los  Gatos  must  have  been  a  powerful  attraction  as  a  getaway. 

Caldwell:   You  mean  when  we  went  there?  Oh,  yes,  it  was  another  home.   And 
actually,  I  have  to  say  they  [Sara  and  Pops]  came  quite  often  to 
Berkeley,  particularly  when  we  were  over  on  Tamalpais  Road.   But 
of  course,  it  [The  Cats]  was  wonderful.   And  the  woman  that 
worked  for  Mother  and  Pops  just  adored  our  children,  and  we 
could  leave  our  children  there  and  go  off  on  a  vacation.  That's 


"For  Old  Friends'  New  Fireplace1 

By  Marie  Welch,  for  the 
Caldwells  at  Woods  Lake,  on 
completion  of  their 

A  blessing  upon  the  stones 
A  blessing  upon  the  flue 
A  blessing  upon  the  pine  logs 
And  upon  the  pine  cones 
And  upon  you. 

A  blessing  upon  the  spark 
And  upon  the  flame -rise 
A  blessing  upon  the  dark 
And  upon  the  flame -fall 
Into  the  shining  dark 
And  upon  us  all. 


what  we  did  one  time  when  we  found  our  own  little  place  up  in 
the  High  Sierra. 

Riess:     What  kind  of  a  little  place  was  that? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  a  dream  place.   You  see,  for  all  that  Mother  and  Pops  were 
very  generous,  on  the  other  hand  we  were  really  on  our  own,  and 
we  couldn't  afford  to  go  away,  being  on  a  very  slim  budget. 
When  we  found  that  there  were  lands  that  the  government  rented 
out  in  the  High  Sierra,  we  parked  the  children  with  Mary  and 
Vincent  and  Mother  and  Pops,  and  went  off  with  a  map  of  the 
various  places ,  and  we  found  this  heavenly  place  at  Carson  Pass , 
at  about  8,000  feet. 

True  to  the  Caldwells  having  off-street  places  to  live,  we 
found  a  beautiful  piece  of  land  right  on  a  little  lake  called 
Woods  Lake,  with  a  beautiful  stream  pouring  into  it.   Could  you 
reach  it  by  car?  No,  you  had  to  walk  a  quarter  of  a  mile  to  the 
house.  Of  course,  we  didn't  have  any  house  then,  it  was  just  a 
piece  of  land.   And  $15  a  year  for  the  land,  at  that  time! 

There  were  only  five  building  places  on  this  lake,  because 
it's  marshy.   The  only  other  house  near  us  belonged  to  some 
hunters  that  came  at  the  season  of  the  year  we  didn't  come  at 
all,  so  we  had  this  whole  shore  to  ourselves.  We  were  obliged 
by  the  government  requirements  to  build  a  house  of  $500  worth, 
and  the  money  that  I  earned  at  the  fair  [1939-1940,  Treasure 
Island]  as  a  docent  was  what  paid  for  the  lumber  and  cement  for 
the  cabin  up  at  Woods  Lake. 

Riess:     There  was  a  requirement  that  you  had  to  put  in  $500  worth  of 
improvements  ? 

Caldwell:  That's  right.  And  we  couldn't  build  it  ourselves,  so  we  had 
people  up  from  Tahoe . 

But  there  is  an  interesting  connection  with  the  Wood 
family.   One  of  Colonel  Wood's  granddaughters  was  at  that  point 
graduating  in  architecture  from  the  University  of  Pennsylvania. 
[Joseph]  Esherick,  who's  so  famous  on  the  Berkeley  campus  here, 
was  her  husband  then.   They  had  just  graduated,  and  they  drew  up 
the  plans --Esherick  did  the  plans  for  our  cabin.  They  refused 
to  take  any  money  for  it.   It  was  the  first  thing  they  ever  did. 
And  then  later  we  lent  them  the  cabin;  they  were  skiers,  so  they 
could  go  up  in  the  wintertime  which  we  couldn't. 

Riess:     Is  it  special  architecturally? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  it  was  beautiful.  We  wanted  something  with  a  low  ceiling, 
instead  of  a  Swiss  steep-roofed  cabin.   Esherick  said,  "No 


problem  at  all,  we  just  cantilever  it,"  so  he  made  this  lovely 
low  cabin  place,  beautiful  place.   And  very  simple.   Just  one 
great  huge  room  with  a  little  alcove  for  the  kitchen,  and  then 
three  little  bedrooms. 

We  used  to  love  that  more  than  anything.  We'd  go  up  every 
summer  for  six  weeks.   Jim  would  take  a  whole  lot  of  work  along 
with  him,  college  work.  And  he'd  fish  part  of  the  day  and  do 
scholarship  another  part  of  the  day. 

Riess:     And  you  would  take  the  children? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  that  was  the  most  fun.   It's  often  said  if  you  bring 

your  children  up  to  love  nature  they  never  get  over  that  love  of 
nature,  and  it's  perfectly  true.   They  adored  it.   Then  we 
imported  their  friends  for  them,  because  we  didn't  want  them  to 
be  all  alone.   A  beautiful  place. 

Riess:     Do  you  still  have  it? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  no.   It  was  most  unfortunate.   We  had  it  for  twenty- five 

years,  and  then  Jim  developed  this  dreadful  heart  trouble,  and 
he  couldn't  go  over  4,000  feet.   I  think  it  was  the  hardest 
thing  in  the  world  in  his  life,  like  parting  with  a  grandchild 
or  something,  a  death.  He  was  very  brave  about  it,  very  brave. 
But  I  just  can't  tell  you  what  it  did  to  him  to  have  to  part 
with  that  place.   Some  dear  friends  of  ours  went  up  with  me  to 
prepare  it  for  sale. 

My  children  both  loved  it,  but  you  see,  my  son  Dan's  life 
went  in  another  direction,  and  my  daughter  never  learned  to 
drive,  and  she  lived  in  New  York  for  so  long.  And  it  took  an 
enormous  amount  of  physical  work  just  to  get  shutters  on  and 
off,  and  the  rowboat  out  and  so  on.  Those  are  just  examples  of 
the  enormous  work  that  house  entailed. 

Even  if  Jim  had  not  developed  the  heart  trouble,  we 
couldn't  have  kept  it  ourselves  unless  we'd  taken  up  a  college 
student  or  somebody  to  do  the  heavy  work.   It  was  frightfully 
heavy  work.   I  just  loved  it,  too,  and  I  used  to  work  hard  also 
up  there,  but  age  would  have  overwhelmed  us  on  that. 

Interestingly  enough,  when  we  had  to  sell  it,  people  said, 
"Oh,  those  poor  Caldwells,  no  electricity,  no  gas,  no  plumbing. 
You'll  never  sell  it."  And  we  only  told  about  it  by  word  of 
mouth,  and  the  first  people  who  came  at  eleven  in  the  morning 
bought  it  at  one.   [laughs]  Just  a  treasure  of  a  place. 

Riess:     And  you  can  get  along  without  plumbing  and  electricity. 


Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   We  had  the  most  wonderful  outhouse  that  was  ever,  ever 
built!   Ed  Strong,  who  later  became  chancellor  here,  he  and  his 
wife  and  children  used  to  come  up  and  stay  with  us.   He  helped 
dig  the  hole  for  the  lavatory,  for  the  toilet. 

You  can  imagine ,  we  felt  very  superior  to  the  people  in 
Tahoe  with  their  fashionable  houses  and  nice  clothes.  Ve  had 
very  dear  friends  at  Tahoe --and  we  were  2,000  feet  higher,  you 
see,  over  8, 000- -and  we  used  to  take  up  some  Tahoe  clothes  in  a 
suitcase  and  go  over  to  visit  for  a  weekend.   Ve  did  our 
shopping  over  in  Nevada,  and  we  loved  that.  Ve  used  to  have 
dinner  in  the  Sheepherder's  Restaurant,  a  full  dinner  for  a 
dollar,  including  three  courses  and  wine.  Lamb,  of  course. 

Dan  and  Sara  Caldwell 

Riess:     Now  that  we've  gotten  into  the  subject  of  your  children,  please 
go  on  and  tell  me  about  their  lives  and  careers? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  Dan  and  Sara  decided  that  the  humanities  were  not  for 

them,  probably  as  a  protest  against  their  parents.   Actually,  in 
Dan's  case,  his  interest  in  science  was  genuine,  over  and  above 
any  kind  of  wanting  to  establish  his  own  identity.   He  would 
have  gone  in  that  direction. 

First,  however,  as  I  have  said,  he  wanted  to  be  a  cellist. 
That  sounds  like  a  contradiction  to  what  I  just  said,  but  he 
took  music  very  seriously,  went  to  the  Conservatory  in  San 
Francisco,  and  studied  with  Gabor  Rejto,  who  was  very  famous. 
Then  he  decided  he  wasn't  good  enough  for  the  big  competitions, 
and  also  the  life,  because  unless  you're  just  absolutely  tops 
there's  no  use  to  go  into  it,  and  even  then,  the  life  is  one  of 
constant  travel.   Dan  quite  wisely  decided  he  wasn't  up  to  that 
kind  of  thing. 

Riess:     Did  you  say  he  also  studied  with  Margaret  Rowel 1? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  dear  Margaret.   Yes,  he  did.   She  was  a  marvel.   1 

didn't  know  her  until  I  had  been  in  Berkeley  and  married  to  Jim 
years  and  years  and  years .   1  got  to  know  her  because  I  had  to 
have  an  operation,  and  I  had  three  thromboses  after  and  was  home 
for  months.   I  got  tired  of  just  reading,  and  I  had  met  her,  so 
1  called  her  up  and  asked  her  if  she  had  a  student  that  could 
give  me  some  cello  lessons.   She  came  right  down  in  the  next 
half -hour  herself  with  a  cello!  Ve  were  fast  friends  after 


I  took  just  a  few  lessons  at  that  time,  nothing  much.   When 
I  took  Dan  up  to  Margaret's  he  was  about  ten  years  older  than 
Galen  [Rowell] --Galen  was  four  or  so  when  Dan  was  taking 
lessons- -and  Dan  was  simply  furious  because  Galen  would  run 
around  the  room  and  interrupt  the  lesson.  Margaret  would  say, 
"Now  Galen,  now  Galen,  stop,  come  down  off  of  that  couch."  Dan 
just  hated  Galen  because  of  the  lessons. 

Veil,  then  twenty- five  years  went  by,  and  my  son  was  at 
Laramie,  Wyoming,  teaching,  and  he  saw  a  sign,  "Lecture  by  Galen 
Rowell. *  Of  course  he  went,  and  he  said  he  Just  sat  there 
laughing.   Here  was  this  beautifully  organized,  articulate, 
excellent  lecturer.  He  hadn't  seen  him  since  he  was  four, 
rushing  around,  making  himself  a  nuisance.   [laughter] 

Riess:     Dan  and  Sara  both  went  to  Berkeley  schools? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  they  did.   And  they  both  graduated  from  Berkeley  High 

School,  though  there  was  a  little  interval  for  a  year  when  Sara 
went  to  the  Anna  Head  School ,  along  with  several  other  faculty 
"brats,"  as  they  were  called.   Then  the  girls  decided  they 
didn't  want  to  be  in  a  private  school,  so  they  rebelled  and  Sara 
eventually  graduated  from  Berkeley  High  School. 

I  have  the  most  wonderful  records  of  Sara's  early  life  in 
Cambridge.   She  started  in  a  nursery  school  and  then  first  grade 
in  Cambridge  in  private  school,  Buckingham  School.   I  have  still 
a  record:  "This  child  is  extremely  eager  and  extremely  bright, 
but  she  identifies  herself  with  grownups,  and  the  best  thing  you 
can  do  for  her  is  to  see  she's  constantly  with  children." 

You  know,  we  never  overcame  her  identifying  with  adults. 
She  told  me  one  time  she  never,  ever  felt  she  was  a  child.   She 
had  a  very  hard  time  relating  to  her  peers,  because  she  always 
felt  superior  to  them. 

Riess:     You  could  relate  to  that,  couldn't  you? 

Caldwell:  You  mean  myself?  Oh,  I  felt  superior  to  them  [peer  group] 
because  of  my  life  in  San  Francisco.   But  more  like  most 
adolescent  girls,  socially  I  felt  very  out  of  touch  with  my 
contemporaries . 

Riess:     Isn't  that  what  Sara  was  feeling,  too? 

Caldwell:  Well,  1  guess  so.   Though  it  seems  to  me  she  did  have  young 

friends.   1  know  when  she  graduated  she  had  an  invitation  to  go 


to  the  dance  with  a  nice  young  man  from  a  very  respectable 
family  in  Berkeley.   Up  to  a  certain  point,  she  seemed  to  have 
adjusted  pretty  well,  but  she  remembers  her  adolescent  years 
just  bitterly,  hated  Berkeley  High  School,  she  said. 

And  Dan  the  same  way.  They  all  think  it  was  a  terrible 
misfortune  to  be  children  of  university  people.  You  just  didn't 
know  how  to  get  along  with  other  kids.   Dan  to  this  day  likes 
the  idea  of  just  being  a  plain  American,  and  not  a  professor's 
son.   Even  though  he's  a  professor  himself. 

He  didn't  get  into  the  University  of  California  graduate 
school,  and  so  he  decided  instead  of  trying  to  go  to  another 
graduate  school  he'd  volunteer  for  the  army.   He  was  in  the  army 
for  two  years.   Then  he  got  his  doctorate  at  the  University  of 
Maryland  in  microbiology,  and  eventually  went  to  the  University 
of  Wyoming.   He's  a  full  professor  there  now. 

Sara,  after  several  years  of  thrashing  around,  decided 
she'd  better  do  something  to  earn  a  living,  and  she  quickly 
decided- -rather  impulsively,  I  think,  I  may  be  wrong  about  the 
impulsive  side,  but  it  seems  so  to  me- -to  get  her  degree  in 
social  welfare  here  at  Berkeley.   She  graduated  with  honors  in 
English  literature  from  Berkeley,  by  the  way.   She  went  two 
years  to  Radcliffe,  and  then  she  transferred  to  Berkeley, 
graduated  with  honors  in  English  literature,  and  decided  to 
reject  the  humanities.   She  could  by  getting  a  master's  degree 
in  social  welfare  then  get  a  job  quite  easily,  and  that's  what 
she  did. 

She's  an  extremely  good  editor.   She  would  have  been 
wonderful  in  some  literary  capacity.   If  you  really  want  to  have 
somebody  cast  a  sharp,  intelligent  eye  on  anything  you've 
written,  just  hand  it  to  Sara.   Now  she's  living  across  the 
street.   She  came  back  to  California  about  a  year  ago,  and  after 
some  interval  of  about  three,  four,  five  months,  she  got  a  very 
good  job  in  San  Francisco.   She's  working  as  a  social  worker 
there . 

Riess:     Dan  is  married? 

Caldwell:   Dan  has  been  married  twice.  He  had  two  children  by  his  first 
wife.   When  he  was  in  the  army  in  Puerto  Rico  he  married  a 
Puerto  Rican  woman.   She's  a  very  honorable  person,  but  they  had 
absolutely  nothing  in  common  together,  except  their  youth.   Jim 
and  I  were  very  upset  about  the  wedding,  but  they  invited  us  to 
come ,  and  we  flew- -we  went  from  London  back  to  New  York  and  down 
to  Puerto  Rico  for  their  marriage. 


She  had  been  more  or  less  adopted  into  the  home  of  some 
people  from  Philadelphia  who  were  Protestants .   She  hated  the 
Catholic  church  because  her  father  didn't  believe  in  the  higher 
education  of  women.   She  had  a  couple  of  years  at  the  University 
of  Puerto  Rico,  where  she  supported  herself.   She  left  home --she 
was  sort  of  a  live- in  babysitter.   She  had  been  to  Philadelphia, 
actually,  with  these  people. 

Anyway,  Dan  met  her  while  he  was  in  the  army  down  there.   1 
wrote  him  the  kind  of  letter  that  mothers  write  to  sons  in  the 
service,  about  how  marriage  is  a  difficult  adjustment,  and  if 
you  don't  marry  people  with  whom  you  have  lots  in  common,  it 
makes  it  more  difficult. 

They  were  married  down  there  in  a  beautiful  little 
Protestant  church.   It  was  the  most  fascinating  wedding,  because 
of  course  she  came  from  poverty  the  like  of  which  I'd  only  seen 
in  India.  We  insisted  on  going  to  see  her  parents.  These 
Americans  with  whom  she'd  been  living  had  never  met  her  parents. 
Jim  and  I  insisted,  and  of  course,  they  couldn't  speak  English. 
Actually,  they  could  neither  read  nor  write,  her  parents,  any 
language . 

Her  father  was  building  a  house  with  some  kind  of  cement 
blocks  that  were  handed  out  by  the  government.  We  saw  poverty 
of  unbelievable  degradation.   At  the  wedding,  Dan's  friends  were 
all  from  the  army,  and  then  there  were  all  these  strange -looking 
ragamuffins  on  the  other  side,  in  clothes  that  didn't  fit  that 
they'd  borrowed  just  to  come.   I  don't  mean  that  there's 
anything  wrong  with  people  because  they  have  poor  clothes  on, 
but  I  mean  to  say  people  with  a  little  more  background,  like 
Dan's--.   The  Americans  who  had  befriended  her,  of  course,  were 
just  delighted  to  have  her  make  this  marriage. 

But  it  [the  marriage]  had  a  very  unfortunate  outcome.   They 
had  two  daughters- -of  course,  that  was  a  very  fortunate 
outcome- -but  they  stayed  together  all  too  long.   Finally  Dan 
divorced  Isabel.   His  second  marriage  is  a  dream  of  dreams  from 
the  point  of  view  of  the  mother-in-law.   I  couldn't  imagine  a 
more  marvelous  person  than  the  woman  that  Dan  married  the  second 
time  around. 

He  met  her  while  he  was  on  sabbatical  at  the  University  of 
Georgia  in  Athens,  Georgia.   Dan  is  religious,  the  only  member 
of  the  family  who  is,  and  he  met  her  in  the  choir  of  a  church. 
Beautiful  church,  by  the  way,  1821,  a  gorgeous  place.   She  had 
been  a  widow  for  twelve  years,  had  three  grown  children.   She's 
Just  about  Dan's  age,  and  I  cannot  express  greater  admiration 


for  anyone  than  I  have  for  this  woman, 
you  can  imagine . 

The  happiest  marriage 

But  that's  another  reason  why  that  lovely  place  in  Woods 
Lake  isn't  accessible,  you  see,  to  Dan,  because  they  spend  their 
time --he  goes  in  the  summer,  to  Athens,  Georgia,  and  then  they 
come  here  for  Christmas  and  so  on.   But  there's  no  opportunity 
for  them  to  use  that  beautiful  Mendocino--.   Oh,  yes,  in  the 
course  of  time  we  used  the  money  that  we  received  for  the  sale 
of  the  land  at  Woods  Lake  to  buy  three  acres  on  the  Mendocino 
coast,  which  I've  given  to  my  children  now  so  they  don't  have  to 
pay  inheritance  tax  when  I  die. 

Riess:     With  a  house  on  it? 

Caldwell:   No  house.   Jim  died  before  we  ever  built  anything,  and  I  didn't 
feel  that  I'd  ever  use  the  house  if  I  were  to  have  built  one. 

Riess:     What  is  it  about  being  a  child  of  academics?  Why  is  it  so  hard? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  they  all  hate  it.   They  weren't  ordinary  Americans.   They 

couldn't  talk- -they  didn't  look  at --of  course,  they  didn't  have 
television  then,  but  they  didn't  know--.  The  kind  of 
conversation  we  had  at  home  wasn't  the  kind  of  conversation 
their  friends  had  at  their  houses.   They  just  felt  out  of  it, 
and  they  felt  bitter  about  it. 

Riess:     And  we  started  by  your  pointing  out  that  your  friends  didn't 
even  have  children. 

Caldwell:   That  is  true,  although  by  this  time  we  had  plenty  of  friends  who 
had  children,  and  we  had  a  little  play  school  that  met  at 
different  houses  five  days  a  week.   But  they  were  all  faculty 
children,  all  of  them!  And  by  this  time,  we  had  extended  our 
acquaintance  far  beyond  the  English  department,  which  seemed  to 
be  so  dead-set  against  having  children,  and  we  had  much  wider 
acquaintance  within  the  University.   Not  one,  come  to  think  of 
it,  just  one,  I  think  the  Strongs,  were  the  only  people  who  were 
in  that- -not  anybody  in  the  English  department.   No,  not 
anybody.   He  was  in  philosophy. 

There  was  one  person- -we  knew  them  in  Cambridge ,  the 
Binghams,  Woodbridge  Bingham.   He  and  my  husband  came  to 
Berkeley,  got  their  Ph.D.s  the  same  year  at  Harvard,  and  we  came 
to  Berkeley  the  same  year.   They  were  very  wealthy  people,  and 
they  lived  in  a  beautiful  apartment  in  Cambridge  on  the  river, 
and  we  lived  in  what  we  called  the  "Ashcan,"  a  little  miserable 
apartment  on  Ash  Street.   Their  children  were  among  the  children 
that  were  part  of  our  little  play  group,  too. 


Sara  Bard  Field '«  Suicide  Attempts 


Caldwell : 



Somewhere  in  this  history  we  need  to  clear  up  the  story  of  your 
mother's  suicide  attempts.  When,  and  where?  Were  the  Marengos 

The  two  suicide  attempts  were  after  Pops  had  died.   She  stayed 
on  at  Los  Gatos  a  few  years  after  Pops  died- -not  too  long,  the 
Marengos  couldn't  handle  it.  They  also  wanted  to  retire, 
because  Vincent  Marengo  had  terrible,  terrible  asthma  as  a 
result  of  pollens  and  what  not. 

What  couldn't  the  Marengos  handle? 

They  felt  that  she  was  lonely  and  depressed  and  that  she  should 
be  up  in  Berkeley  close  to  us.   However,  they  were  in  Los  Gatos 
for  these  two  suicide  attempts.  This  was  all,  as  1  said,  after 
Pops  had  died.   They  stayed  on  for  a  while.   I  remember  they 
called  me  up  on  the  phone,  hysterically- -Vincent  did- -about  her. 
"Jesus,  Kay,  you  come  down  here  quick,  your  mother  took  all  the 
sleeping  pills. " 

After  the  second  time  this  happened,  at  Los  Gatos,  with  the 
Marengos  there,  they,  like  me,  were  absolutely  furious  that 
Mother  would  do  this  and  cause  all  this  [misery  for  everyone]. 
They  were  just  as  angry  as  I  was.  And  1  remember  feeling  so 
guilty  about  being  angry. 

I  went  down  there  and  had  to  help  get  her  out  of  this .  The 
withdrawal  symptoms  were  simply  appalling,  perfectly  awful,  from 
taking  all  the  dope.   See,  she  took  all  these  sleeping  pills. 
Her  whole  bathroom  cabinet  was  just  full  of  sedatives.   She  had 
taken  bottles  of  them,  just  swallowed  the  whole  lot  down.   Each 
time.   She  had  promised  the  Marengos  after  the  first  suicide 
attempt  that  she  would  never  again  accumulate  this  stuff.  But 
she  did.   You  know,  like  anybody  with  an  addiction,  they  just 
can't  help  it. 

What  kind  of  drugs? 

At  that  time- -I  don't  know  precisely,  except  that  they  were  all 
for  sleeping.   Later  on  she  got  to  the  point  where  she  was 
shooting  herself  with  heaven  knows  what.  When  she  was  up  here. 
And  she  would  collapse,  and  my  husband  would  be  called  at  four 
in  the  morning  to  come  over  and  help  get  her  off  the  floor.  Or 
the  police.   It  was  terrible. 


Riess:     And  her  doctors?  Did  she  have  a  psychiatrist? 
Caldwell:   No,  she  didn't.   It  wasn't  until  I  insisted  on  this. 

Her  doctor  was  a  dear  friend,  and  he  said,  "Why  not  let  her 
have  anything  at  her  age,"  you  see?  The  consequences  for  those 
that  took  care  of  her  were  appalling.  And  of  course,  it 
produced  a  character  change  as  well,  so  that  she  was  not  very 
easy  to  get  along  with,  and  she  had  trouble  with  her  health. 
All  kinds  of  complications. 

She  does  refer,  in  a  letter  that  will  be  down  at  the 
Huntington,  to  a  suicide  attempt  much  earlier  in  her  life.  And 
maybe  that  should  be  referred  to,  because  it  was  a  pattern.   It 
was  when- -I  think  she  felt  there  was  a  time  when  she  and  Pops 
would  never  get  their  lives  together.   She  had  a  terrible 
anguish  about  that.   I  don't  know  just  when  that  was.   But  that 
particular  letter  I  did  send  down  to  the  Huntington. 

Riess:     After  the  two  suicide  attempts,  did  you  think  of  some  more 
professional  care  for  your  mother? 

Caldwell:   No.   And  she  had  a  doctor  down  there,  an  awfully  nice  man,  Dr. 
Jones,  who  was  devoted  to  Mother  and  Pops  and  saw  Pops  through 
his  last  years,  and  his  last  hours.   But  it  never  occurred  to 
any  of  them  to  do  anything  about  that.   And  they  let  her  have 
all  she  wanted. 

Riess:     How  awful  for  you. 

Caldwell:   It  was  terrible,  it  was  devastating. 

On  the  way  home  from  the  second  suicide  attempt  I  was  so 
angry.   And  then  I  felt  so  guilty  about  being  so  angry  toward  my 
mother,  and  I  stopped  in  at  the  home  of  some  wonderful  friends 
by  the  name  of  McGiffert.  The  man  [Arthur  Cushman  McGiffert] 
was  the  head  of  the  GTU  [Graduate  Theological  Union]  down  here 
[president  of  Pacific  School  of  Religion,  1939-1945],  and  his 
wife,  Elizabeth,  was  a  dear  friend,  who  was  very  sophisticated. 
She  was  older  than  I ,  but  somehow  or  other  she  knew  a  lot  about 
psychiatry,  and  she  said  how  normal  this  was  for  me  to  be  angry, 
[laughing]   It  almost  brings  tears  to  my  eyes  now  to  think  how 
grateful  I  was  to  her  for  not  faulting  me  for  my  anger  toward  my 

But  it  was  a  terrible  thing,  because  I  had  been  so 
worshipful  toward  my  mother,  and  suddenly  I  realized  that  she 
was  not  the  angel  that  I  had  thought,  the  perfect  person  I  had 
thought.   And  of  course,  it  was  hard  on  her  because  if  ever 


anybody  wanted  adulation  it  was  she.   It  was  hard  for  her  to 
take  too.   So  that  made  a  great  strain  between  us  then. 

Riess:     When  was  it  that  you  consulted  Anna  Maenchen? 

Caldwell:   That  must  have  been  after  the  second  suicide  attempt.  Anna 
Maenchen  very  sensibly  saw  that  Mother  needed  a  psychiatrist, 
somebody  that  was  a  medical  person- -Maenchen  was  a  therapist, 
not  a  psychiatrist- -and  she  sent  Mother  to  somebody  in  San 
Francisco.   [laughing]  The  reason  I  am  laughing  is,  I  then  went 
to  see  the  woman  that  Anna  had  sent  her  to,  and  she  said  to  me, 
"Do  you  know  what  your  mother  is?  She  is  a  sixty-year-old  baby. 
She  wants  what  she  wants  when  she  wants  it . " 

Riess:     Did  your  mother  see  that  psychiatrist  on  a  regular  basis? 

Caldwell:   No,  she  didn't  have  any  therapy  at  all.   I'm  not  quite  sure  why 
there  was  no  follow-up  on  that,  maybe  they  thought  she  was  too 
old.  But  I'll  never  forget  how  surprised  I  was  at  that  blunt 
statement  on  the  part  of  that  psychiatrist.   It  was  very 
shocking  to  me ,  but  also  very  helpful .   Because  I  never 
criticized  my  mother,  you  see,  and  this  was  quite  an  eye-opener, 
that  a  professional  person  would  make  that  evaluation. 

Riess:     When  your  mother  was  established  in  Berkeley  did  she  continue  to 
be  depressed? 

Caldwell:   She  never  was  happy  after  Pops  died.   She  felt  that  her  identity 
was  with  him  at  Los  Gatos .   She  had  a  sense  that  their  whole 
life  there  was  an  attraction  to  people  of  brilliance  and 
quality.   She  never  felt  that  life  could  be  the  way  she  wanted 
it  to  be  after  she  left  Los  Gatos. 

She  had  a  lovely  little  house- -it  was  destroyed  by  the 
freeway- -in  East  Oakland.   For  a  little  while  she  had  a  nice 
life  there,  she  entertained  and  so  on.  But  when  she  moved  away 
from  there  she  was  terribly  depressed.   She  wanted  to  be  near 
us ,  and  we  felt  she  should  be ,  but  the  only  house  we  could  find 
on  one  floor  was  this  house  here  [gesturing] .   It  was  such  a 
coup  to  find  a  house  in  this  neighborhood  on  one  floor,  you 
know,  but  she  always  hated  the  house,  hated  everything. 

Riess:     Where  was  the  house? 

Caldwell:  You  can't  see  it  from  here,  but  it's  just  three  doors  away,  on 
Hawthorne  Terrace. 


You  had  her  by  your  side. 


Caldwell:   Oh  yes,  for  ten  years  she  lived  there,  until  she  died.   And  she 
died  in  that  house. 

I  used  to  go  see  her  all  the  time.   I'll  never  forget, 
after  Jim's  death  when  I  went  to  a  psychiatrist  it  didn't  help 
me  at  all  [about  Jim],  but  it  did  help  about  my  mother.   I  said 
that  my  mother  didn't  seem  to  feel  that  I  did  enough  for  her. 
And  he  said,  "How  often  do  you  go  to  see  her?"   I  said,  "Oh, 
about  five  times  a  week."   [laughs]   "Oh,"  he  said,  "how 
shocking!   You  shouldn't  be-- I"   So,  instead  of  getting  any  help 
on  grieving  for  Jim,  I  got  great  help  from  the  psychiatrist  on 
my  relationship  with  my  mother. 



The  Legion  of  Honor  Job:  Directors 

Riess:     How  did  you  get  the  Job  lecturing  at  the  Palace  of  the  Legion  of 

Caldwell:   I  had  the  master's  degree  from  Harvard,  and  had  taken  a  museum 
course,  the  first  ever  given  on  the  subject.   And  actually,  I 
simply  applied  for  this.   I  don't  think  there  was  any  influence 
involved  in  this,  through  my  stepfather.   He  did  know  the  people 
on  the  board  of  trustees  out  there.   But  on  the  other  hand,  they 
needed  somebody,  and  my  credentials  were  good. 

And  that  kind  of  job,  you  just  did  everything.   In  those 
days,  the  staff  was  so  small,  you  did  everything  from  newspaper 
work  to  supervising  the  hanging  of  pictures,  and  lecturing. 

Riess:     The  Palace  of  the  Legion  of  Honor  was  built- - 

Caldwell:   By  Mrs.  [Alma  de  Bretteville]  Spreckels,  to  be  a  reproduction  of 
the  Palais  de  la  Legion  d'Honneur  in  France.   She  wanted  it  to 
be  the  first  thing  people  saw  coming  through  the  Golden  Gate. 

Did  I  tell  you  about  that  awful  situation  when  I  was  at 
Harvard  and  their  needing  a  new  director  of  the  Legion  of  Honor, 
because  they'd  had  such  dreadful  people,  dope  fiends  and  whatnot 
before,  who  weren't  doing  their  job?  I  don't  want  to  repeat 
this.   [tape  interruption] 

For  a  while,  both  the  de  Young  and  the  Legion  of  Honor  were 
under  the  same  directorship  as  they  are  now  [in  1971  the  two 
institutions  were  placed  under  one  governing  head] ,  but  I  think 
the  people  who  are  in  charge  now  think  they're  the  first  ones 
that  ever  united  those  two.   It  wasn't  true. 



Lloyd  Rollins  was  the  name  of  this  man  who  was  brought  In 
BO  unfortunately,  by  the  way.  He  made  it  very  difficult  for 
anybody  who  was  not  gay- -we  didn't  use  the  word  gay  then- -to 
have  an  exhibition,  because  he'd  favor  his  friends.  That's  the 
kind  of  harm  that  he  did.  And  for  the  guards  in  the  museum  he 
would  employ  his  friends,  and  he'd  use  them  for  personal  parties 
at  home,  on  city  money. 

Finally,  he  had  some  dreadful  death,  I  think.   If  I'm  not 
mistaken,  he  was  intoxicated  and  sort  of  fell  in  the  street. 
But  it  was  a  very,  very,  very  bad  situation.  He  brought  in 
Thomas  Carr  Howe,  who  succeeded  him.   I'm  smiling,  because  Tommy 
Howe  was  also  part  of  the  same  group  at  Harvard.   But  Tommy  Howe 
became  so  famous  in  San  Francisco  society  at  the  time,  and 
seeing  what  had  happened  to  Rollins,  he  married  a  woman  of  very 
great  wealth,  and  had  a  child  by  her.   So  he  made  it  impossible 
to  criticize  him. 

Anyway  [laughs],  all  that  mess  I  was  in. 

Subsequent  to  the  Legion  of  Honor,  I  worked  at  the  de 
Young,  and  then  after  that  with  Grace  Morley. 

According  to  your  resume  you  were  a  lecturer  at  the  San 
Francisco  Museum  of  Art  from  1934  to  1940. 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  was  there  at  the  time  of  the  fair  of  '39  and  '40. 

Riess:     And  you  were  a  lecturer  at  the  Palace  of  the  Legion  of  Honor 
from  '30  to  '32. 

Caldwell:  Then  I  worked  at  the  de  Young  Museum  in  between  that,  for  a 

little  while.   It  was  in  that  order:  Legion,  de  Young,  Museum  of 
Modern  Art.   I  remember  I  was  pregnant  with  Dan  [born  1936]  when 
I  was  working  at  the  de  Young.  And  it  was  after  that  [sic]  that 
I  went  to  the  San  Francisco  Museum- -we  just  called  it  the  San 
Francisco  Museum  of  Art  at  that  time,  by  the  way,  "Modern"  was 
added  later. 

Treasure  Island  Fair.  Arts  of  the  Pacific 

Caldwell:  At  the  time  of  the  '39-'40  International  Exposition  on  Treasure 
Island,  my  great  teacher  Langdon  Warner  had  a  two-year  leave  of 
absence  from  Harvard  to  put  on  this  extraordinary  exhibition 
called  Arts  of  the  Pacific,  meaning  that  every  country  bordering 
the  Pacific  Ocean  was  represented,  but  of  course  China  and  Japan 
were  most  heavily  represented. 


Riess:     Langdon  Warner  out  here  for  the  two  years? 

Caldvell:  Yes,  he  had  a  house  on  Roble  Road,  a  beautiful  house  on  Roble 
Road.   He  gave  his  entire  attention- -he  of  course  had  to  spend 
some  of  the  time  of  his  absence  from  Harvard  by  assembling  all 
this  material.  Japanese  art  was  his  specialty. 

So  then  I  lectured  there  all  during  the  fair. 
Riess:     Was  it  a  slide  lecture? 

Caldwell:   No.   1  was  a  docent,  actually.   1  did  use  slides.   There  was  a 
little  theater  there  where  one  could  use  slides,  and  if  I  ever 
had  children,  which  1  usually  avoided  because  I  didn't  think  I 
could  do  very  well  with  them,  1  would  use  slides  of  maybe  five 
pictures  from  different  parts  of  the  museum,  and  ask  them  who 
could  go  and  find  the  picture  first,  that  kind  of  thing.   But 
mostly  it  was  with  adults,  and  it  was  actually  taking  docent 
groups . 

Riess:     Did  they  make  an  appointment,  or  would  you  just  be  there? 

Caldwell:   I  was  on  the  staff,  I  worked  full  time.   There  were  scheduled 
lectures  and  lectures  to  private  groups,  made  by  appointment. 

Riess:     Were  there  other  docents  for  the  Fair? 

Caldwell:   I  hired  one  other  person,  John  Forbes,  to  take  over  the  Western 
part.  Actually  he  was  the  father  of  the  awfully  nice  woman 
whose  married  name  I  can't  think  of  right  now  who  is  in  charge 
of  the  Triptych,  the  little  bulletin  that  they  get  out  for  all 
the  [Fine  Arts]  museums.   They  [the  Fair]  had  a  spectacular 
collection,  some  of  the  great  masterpieces  of  European  art, 
Raphael's  "Madonna  of  the  Chair,"  and  Botticelli's  "Venus  Rising 
from  the  Sea"  as  examples,  and  Rembrandt  and  so  on. 

To  me  it  was,  of  course,  a  bonanza  to  have  all  these  great 
works  of  art,  and  to  be  lecturing  with  the  approval  of  Langdon 
Warner,  my  great  teacher.   But  people  in  the  San  Francisco  Bay 
Area  knew  nothing,  but  nothing,  about  Asian  art.  And  how  could 
you  look  at  a  Chinese  bronze  or  even  a  Chinese  painting 
appreciatively  without  any  background  at  all? 

That  fair  was  the  Golden  Gate  International  Exposition,  and 
the  reason  so  little  attention  has  been  paid  to  it,  you  see,  is 
that  it  ended  just  before  the  outbreak  of  World  War  II  when  all 
this  anti- Japanese  feeling  arose.   Some  of  the  Japanese  in  Japan 
who  had  lent  things  there  were  arrested  for  having  dealt  with 
"the  enemy,"  you  know,  and  so  on.   It  was  a  very,  very  bad  time. 


Anyway,  first  I  lectured  on  both  the  East  and  West,  and 
that  was  too  much  for  me  to  handle,  so  I  hired  that  man  to  take 
the  Western  part  and  devoted  myself  entirely  to  the  East.   I 
would  take  groups  by  appointment --organizations  would  call  and 
make  appointments --or  there  were  regular  scheduled  tours.  And 
when  I  say  tours,  I  didn't  do  the  whole  collection  at  once,  I 
took  different  periods  and  different  countries. 

Riess:     In  that  short  period  of  time  how  did  you  bridge  the  gap  of 

Caldwell:  Well,  I  think  the  few  that  came,  the  relatively  few,  to  the 

Eastern  side  had  some  interest  in  knowing.  They  had  at  least 
lived  in  San  Francisco  and  knew  Chinatown- -which,  of  course, 
they  didn't  realize  was  not  an  opportunity  to  see  great  art. 

But  anyhow,  I  think  it  was  a  very  good  training  period  for 
me  in  presenting  unfamiliar  material  to  the  public,  as  I  look 
back  on  it  now.   I  felt  like  a  missionary,  you  know.  That  was 
really  a  crusade . 

Riess:     Was  there  any  Asian  art  at  the  de  Young  then? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  very  little,  and  very,  very  insignificant. 

Riess:     And  did  the  de  Young  have  a  docent  program  of  their  own? 

Caldwell:   No,  that  was  all  much  later.   The  whole  idea  of  docentry  came 
into  the  museum  world  much,  much  later. 

Riess:     In  any  event,  your  public  was  sympathetic? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  they  were  mostly  educated  people.  And  of  course,  there  were 
some  that  cared. 

Not  very  long  ago,  three  or  four  years  ago,  they  had  a 
meeting  on  Treasure  Island  organized  by  Professor  Burton 
Benedict  here  in  the  anthropology  department  at  Berkeley, 
recapitulating  the  arts  on  Treasure  Island.   I  was  asked  to 
speak,  and  the  theme  that  I  used  was  the  contrast  between  the 
utter  blank  in  people's  minds  in  the  San  Francisco  area  about 
Asian  art  then,  and  now  since  the  acquisition  of  the  Brundage 
Collection  and  its  excellent  docent  program- -the  change  that  had 
occurred  in  those  years . 

I  used  examples.   I  showed  in  the  slides  in  that  lecture 
the  marvelous  things,  priceless  works  of  art,  that  never  had 
been  seen  before  or  since  in  the  United  States,  that  were 
examples  of  the  highest  quality  of  Asian  art  that  were  there  [at 


Treasure  Island]  at  that  time,  but  that  very  few  people  knew 
what  they  were,  and  I  talked  about  how  much  that  situation  has 
changed  as  a  result  of  the  programs  at  the  Asian  Art  Museum. 

Riess:     The  priceless  things  that  were  there  at  the  time  of  the  fair, 
Langdon  Warner  was  able  to  borrow  them? 

Ca 1 dwell r  Oh,  yes,  he  knew  everyone,  you  know.  And  he  got  permission 

because  he  just  knew  everyone.   Most  of  the  things  that  were  so 
very  priceless  were  from  England. 

Riess:     Not  from  the  Orient? 

Caldwell:   Some,  but  not  all.  That's  another  thing.  The  English,  the 
French,  and  the  Americans,  have  enthusiastically  and 
intelligently,  because  of  a  certain  few  knowledgeable  people, 
collected  Chinese  art  particularly.  And  he  got  things--.  One 
of  the  great  collections  of  Chinese  ceramics  in  the  world  is  in 
London,  it's  called  the  David  Collection,  and  they  had  never 
allowed  any  of  their  pieces  to  come  to  the  United  States  before. 
Here  were  these  great  things  to  see . 

You  can  study  Chinese  art  in  America  very  well  in  many 
ways.   I  mean  to  say,  obviously  not  the  richness  of  China,  but 
the  accessibility- -it's  so  hard  to  see  anything  in  many  cases  in 
Chinese  museums,  for  example.   But  the  Freer  Gallery  in 
Washington  has  one  of  the  greatest  collections  in  the  world  of 
Chinese  bronzes.   Cleveland,  and  Seattle,  have  wonderful  things 
in  Japanese  art.   One  of  the  greatest  collections  of  Chinese 
paintings  in  the  world  is  in  Kansas  City.   And  so  on.   So  there 
are  plenty  of  places  in  this  country  where  Chinese  art  was 
intelligently  acquired  and  with  great  connoisseurship. 

Riess:     And  predating  the  Fair. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   The  joke  of  it  was  that  San  Francisco  always  felt  it 
was  the  Gateway  to  the  Orient,  and  so  here  they  were,  most  ill- 
prepared  to  understand  what  great  Asian  art  was  about.   They 
thought  that  Chinatown  represented  Chinese  art.   And  while  there 
are  charming  things  there,  they  weren't  museum  quality  things, 
except  from  time  to  time. 

Gump's,  of  course,  had  some.  They  greatly  exaggerated 
their  expertise  on  their  holdings,  but  occasionally  they  had 
some  very  beautiful  things.   And  there  were  some  Japanese 
dealers  who  had  beautiful  Chinese  things,  like  the  friend  I 
spoke  of  earlier,  Mr.  Shiota. 


About  Elizabeth  Huff.  Alfred  Salmonv.  Albert  Bender,  and  Mills 

Riess:     In  Elizabeth  Huff's  oral  history  she  says  she  met  you  through 

Langdon  Warner. 

Caldwell:   She  came  out  to  Mills  College  to  study  under  a  great  Chinese  art 
scholar,  Alfred  Salmony,  a  German.   I  think  she  got  her  master's 
degree  at  Mills  College,  largely  drawn  there  by  this  great 
scholar,  Alfred  Salmony,  who  was  teaching  Chinese  art  there.   I 
became--!  will  talk  about  Elizabeth  first,  and  then  a  spinoff 
from  that,  but  it  is  part  of  that  whole  question.   I  used  to  go 
and  audit  Salmony 's  classes,  though  Dan  was  just  a  baby  then. 

1  became  very  fond  of  Elizabeth,  and  found  that  she  was  a 
very  depressed  person,  and  1  was  so  distressed  about  her 
depressions  that  I  would  invite  her  to  our  house.  Jim  liked 
her,  too.   She  was  a  bit  of  an  acerbic  person,  but  if  you  got  to 
know  her,  you  liked  her.   I  thought  she  was  remarkable,  but  1 
just  worried  about  her.   In  the  course  of  time,  of  course,  she 
did- -the  end  of  her  life  was  very  tragic. 

In  any  case,  she  used  to  spend  weekends  with  us 
occasionally,  and  I  admired  her  very  much.   She  was  the  kind  of 
scholar  the  like  of  which  I  could  never  be.   But  that's  all  I 
can  say  about  Elizabeth,  except  later  on  she  became  head  of  the 
East  Asiatic  Library  here  [UC  Berkeley] . 

But  about  Salmony,  I  would  go  out  to  visit  Professor 
Salmony 's  classes.   Salmony  was  an  extraordinary  fellow,  a  very 
ungracious  person.   Albert  Bender  had  given  Oriental  things  to 
Mills,  to  Stanford,  and  to  Cal,  and  they  were  all  bogus.   He 
didn't  know  it,  bless  his  dear  heart,  but  he  had  been  taken 
advantage  of  by  an  unscrupulous  dealer  in  San  Francisco  who  had 
sold  him  all  these  things. 

Anyway,  once  when  I  went  out  in  my  little  Ford  car  to  audit 
Professor  Salmony 's  classes,  standing  beside  my  car  was  the 
almost  six-foot  figure  of  Aurelia  Reinhardt,  the  most  wonderful 
president  Mills  has  ever  had.   Marvelous  woman.   She  was  a  great 
friend  of  my  mother  and  stepfather. 

She  said,  "Kath-er-ine--"  all  three  syllables,  and 
fluttering  her  eyes,  "I  have  something  very  important  to  ask 
you.  You  have  studied  Asian  art  at  Harvard,  and  I  must  ask  you 
about  Dr.  Salmony.  You  know,  he  has  said  that  our  dear  Albert 
Bender's  things  are  absolutely  fake.   The  Jewish  community  in 



San  Francisco  would  like  me  to  fire  Dr.  Salmony  because  of  his 
attacks  on  Mr.  Bender." 

1  said,  "I  love  Mr.  Bender  as  much  as  you  do,  Dr. 
Reinhardt.   He's  a  dear  family  friend." 

"Is  it  true,"  said  Dr.  Reinhardt,  "what  Dr.  Salmony  says 
about  our  dear  Albert?" 

I  didn't  know  what  to  say.   I  felt  terribly  embarrassed, 
because  I  loved  Albert  Bender  so  much.  But  I  said,  "Well,  Dr. 
Reinhardt,  as  I've  said,  I  admire  and  love  Albert  Bender,  but  it 
is  true  what  Dr.  Salmony  says  about  those  works  of  art." 

"Then,"  she  said,  with  decision,  "I  will  not  fire  Dr. 
Salmony."  And  she  lost  I  don't  know  how  much  money  for  Mills 
because  of  the  anger  of  the  Jewish  community  that  Salmony  had 
not  been  fired. 

That's  all  recorded  by  dear  Jim  Hart.   I  told  him  that 
story  one  time.  He  said,  "That's  got  to  be  recorded."  Later 
they  arranged  down  at  Mills  to  have  a  little  tribute  to  Albert 
Bender.   I  said,  "Jim,  1  don't  want  to  say  that."  He  said, 
"Yes,  that's  important  to  know."  But  I  was  really  proud  of 
Mills  College,  of  course,  the  fact  that  they  would  stand  up  for 
scholarship  in  spite  of  the  sadness. 

You  know,  Bender  was  an  intimate  friend  of  my  mother  and 
stepfather.   I  used  to  chauffeur  him  places.   He  would  have  been 
my  guardian  if  my  parents  had  died.   That  is,  in  the  financial 
sense,  I  don't  mean--.   By  that  time  I  was  too  grown-up  to  need 
any  personal  attention.  But  he  was  very  much  a  member  of  the 
family,  and  I  was  very  fond  of  him. 

Later  on,  I  wrote  an  article  about  Albert  Bender  for  a 
national  art  magazine.   It  was  a  very  pedestrian  article,  but 
anyway,  it  was  an  appreciative  one.   [appended] 

Did  they  de- access ion  those  works? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  they  had  to  de-accession  them,  and  so  did  Stanford  and 

Riess:     The  Mills  connection  with  the  Asian  community  has  gone  way,  way 
back.   How  were  those  bonds  forged? 

Caldwell:   I  wondered  about  that,  too.   I  have  never  quite  documented  this, 
but  I  think  Mills  was  the  first  college  west  of  Chicago  that  had 


courses  in  Asian  art.   I  was  told  that  Susan  and  Cyrus  Mills 
lived  in- -I  forget  whether  it  was  Burma  or  whether  it  was  India. 

Riess:     They  were  missionaries? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Anyway,  they  lived  in  Asia.   I've  always  assumed  that  was 
the  reason  why  Mills  College  turned  in  that  direction.   The  fact 
that  they  taught  anything  about  Asian  art  interested  me. 
Somehow  or  other,  they  must  have  been  influenced  by  that 
earlier- -but  this  was  just  a  guess.   I  have  an  article  somebody 
else  that  was  interested  in  this  gave  me  one  time .   I'll  try  to 
look  that  up  before  I  see  you  next  time. 

Riess:     Was  there  any  strength  in  Asian  art  at  Berkeley? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  my.   They  didn't  have  anything  about  Asian  art  to  speak  of. 
Oh,  there  was  one  person,  excuse  me,  but  he  was  not  a  scholar, 
and  it  was  more  an  appreciative  thing.   [Chiura  Obata] 

A  Series  of  Job  Opportunities 

Riess:     You  have  talked  about  Langdon  Warner  and  how  important  an 

influence  he  was.  Had  it  occurred  to  you  when  you  first  studied 
this  that  it  was  something  you  would  want  to  specialize  in? 

Caldwell:  Not  at  all,  I  had  no  idea  I  would  get  into  it.   I  majored  in 

philosophy  as  an  undergraduate,  with  no  idea  of  what  I  was  going 
to  do  when  I  finished  college.   This  just  fell  into  my  lap,  so 
to  speak,  but  I  didn't  realize  how  much  it  was  going  to  be  a 
part  of  my  life. 

Riess:     How  did  it  fall  into  your  lap? 

Caldwell:  The  contact  with  Warner  is  what  I  am  referring  to,  the 

opportunity  that  came  my  way  unexpectedly.   But  I  never  had  any 
expectation  of  teaching  in  a  college.   My  master's  degree  at 
Harvard  was  in  museum  work.   I  had  no  thought --that's  the  reason 
I  have  no  Ph.D.--I  had  no  thought  ever  of  college  teaching. 

My  first  jobs  in  San  Francisco  as  a  recent  graduate,  the 
first  one  was  at  the  Legion  of  Honor,  the  second  one  at  the  de 
Young  Museum,  and  the  third  one  at  the  Museum  of  what  is  now 
called  Modern  Art,  in  downtown  San  Francisco.   I  had  no  thought 
ever  of  doing  college  teaching.  But  at  each  of  those 


museums —incidentally,  I  wasn't  bounced  out  of  them,  it  just  so 
happened  that  opportunities  arose  at  each  one  of  them- -I  somehow 
or  other  got  into  educational  work,  was  in  charge  of  the 
lectures.   And  that  got  me  interested  in  teaching. 

Riess:     Please  be  specific  about  what  you  did  in  those  earlier  jobs. 

Caldwell:   I  had  charge  of  the  lectures  for  the  members  of  the  museums. 

The  museums  would  announce  in  their  calendars  that  there  would 
be  lectures  on  such-and-such  a  topic  at  such-and-such  an  hour  in 
such-and-such  a  place,  and  day.  Just  as  it  is  today;  they  do 
the  same  thing  today. 

Incidentally,  I  was  shocked  when  I  got  my  first  job  at  the 
Legion  of  Honor,  to  find  that  people  who  seemed  to  me  should 
know  better  didn't  know  anything  about  contemporary  art  at  all. 
I  mean,  contemporary  then,  Braque,  Picasso.   I  had  been  over  in 
Europe  and  in  the  East,  and  I  couldn't  imagine  people  being 
artistically  so  utterly  bereft.   So  my  missionary  spirit  about 
bringing  enlightenment  on  art  to  the  community  started  with 
Western  art  at  the  Legion,  and  then  later  the  Asian  art. 

Riess:     You  gave  the  lectures? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  was  the  lecturer.   I  wasn't  just  organizing  them,  I  was 
giving  them. 

Riess:     The  lectures  were  in  conjunction  with  exhibitions? 

Caldwell:   Oftentimes.   Sometimes  they  were  little  surveys  of  modern  art. 

I  must  tell  that  as  a  part  of  getting  a  degree  in  art 
history,  of  course,  if  you  chose  Asian  art  it  didn't  mean  you 
didn't  have  training  in  Western  art.   At  a  level  of  no  great 
depth,  but  certainly  more  than  the  public.   And  so  I  gave 
lectures  in  Western  art  at  the  museums.   It  wasn't  until  much 
later  on  that  I  zeroed  in  on  Asia. 

There  would  be  lectures  on  Impressionism,  Post- 
Impressionism,  contemporary,  and  so  on.  And  when  I  was  at  the 
downtown  museum,  what  is  now  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Modern 
Art,  I  would  invite  guest  artists  to  come  in.   There  is  always 
this  tension  between  art  historians  and  studio  people,  and  I 
thought  I  should  give  them  a  chance. 

It  was  very  interesting  to  me  to  see  the  difference  between 
the  art  historian  and  the  studio  person  was  that  the  studio 




person  was  so  absolutely  convinced  of  his  own  creativity,  which 
had  been  formed  by  this  or  that  particular  predecessor,  that 
there  was  no  open-mindedness  about  other  styles.  That  impressed 
me  very  much.  And  I  decided  that  that  was  part  of  their  own 
commitment,  their  commitment  to  their  work;  they  couldn't  do  it 
any  other  way. 

You  had  them  actually  lecture? 

Oh  yes,  I'd  invite  them  to  do  a  lecture.   I  had  a  great  deal  of 
latitude . 

Grace  McCann  Morlev  and  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art 

Caldwell:   By  the  way,  it  was  under  Grace  McCann  Morley  that  I  developed 

this  interest.   She  liked  the  fact  that  I  lectured  well,  and  she 
was  the  one  that  little  by  little  put  the  whole  lecture  program 
in—that  is  to  say,  I  didn't  have  to  get  out  the  publicity  or 
any thing- -the  whole  lecture  program  in  my  hands.  And  that's  how 
I  got  interested  in  teaching.   It  just  fell  into  my  lap.   I  just 
stumbled  on  it,  really. 

When  I  say  I  was  trained  to  do  museum  work,  that  sounds 
very  vague,  but  you  were  supposed  to  learn  how  to  oversee  the 
hanging  of  pictures  and  so  on,  all  the  details  of  museum  work. 
But  it  so  happened  that  lecturing  was  my  forte,  and  so  that  was 
the  way  I  got  into  teaching. 

Riess:     Essentially  you  had  the  same  training  that  Grace  Morley  had. 
Caldwell:  Yes,  really,  that's  true. 
Riess:     She  was  quite  supportive  of  you? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  I  think  that  the  staff  was  very  small,  and  the  funding  was 
meager.   The  City  of  San  Francisco  paid  for  heat  and  lighting 
and  the  building,  but  not  for  the  staff.   So  of  course  she  was 
limited  in  whom  she  could  employ.   As  I  was  a  novice  at  this,  at 
teaching,  she  could  get  me  at  a  very  reasonable  rate. 

Riess :     But  you  were  paid? 

Caldwell:  Oh  yes,  it  was  paid.   I  don't  think  I  have  ever,  until  I 

retired,  I  don't  think  I  have  ever  worked  without  compensation. 
It  was  a  reasonable  salary  for  the  period. 


Riess:     Did  you  have  contact  with  the  Women's  Board? 

Caldwell:  No.  That  was  an  interesting  thing.   I  knew  Elise  Haas,  and 

about  the  terrible  tension  that  eventually  occurred  between  her 
and  Grace  Morley.   The  reason  for  Grace  Morley's  dismissal  from 
San  Francisco  was  because  Elise  Haas  did  not  appreciate --or 
approve,  I  should  say- -the  style  of  painting  that  Grace  Morley 
liked.   She  thought  it  was  too  far  out. 

Mrs .  Haas  happened  to  have  been  a  friend  of  my  mother  and 
stepfather's,  you  see,  I  had  grown  up  more  or  less  knowing  the 
Haas  family,  and  Mrs.  Stern,  her  mother,  and  I  realized  that 
this  terrible  warfare,  almost,  this  intellectual  and  aesthetic 
warfare  between  Morley  and  Elise  Haas,  was  building  up  which 
culminated  in  the  dismissal  of  Grace  Morley.   Because  my  family 
had  known  the  Haas  family  1  had  social  contacts  with  them.   So 
that's  how  I  happened  to  know  what  was  happening.   But  as  a 
board,  no,  I  didn't  have  contact  with  them. 

Riess:     Did  you  talk  with  Grace  Morley  about  that  in  those  last  days? 

Caldwell:   No,  not  at  all. 

Riess:     Was  Grace  Morley  a  person  you  felt  close  to? 

Caldwell:   It  depends  what  you  mean  by  closeness.   It  was  not  an  easy 

relationship,  I  think.   I  heard  later- -and  to  my  astonishment 
because  there  was  nothing  in  the  world  that  would  ever  persuade 
me  to  take  an  executive,  or  an  administrative  post- -that  she  had 
some  worry  that  I  might  want  to  be  director  of  the  museum.   I 
thought  that  was  hilarious.   If  ever  there  were  anybody  that  had 
no  interest  in  administration,  it  was  I.  That  I  just  heard 
through  the  grapevine . 

In  any  case  she  had  a  lot  of  confidence  in  me ,  because 
later  on  when  the  World's  Fair  of  1939-1940  occurred  on  Treasure 
Island  she  suggested--.   A  little  bit  was  her  influence,  not 
altogether.   I  can't  tell  you  how  naive  and  non-egotistical  I 
felt  about  my  job.   I  felt  I  was  performing  a  rather  minor  job, 
with  pleasure.   But  I  just  heard  that  there  was  a  little  tension 
on  her  part  about  that. 

Riess:     Did  you  go  back  to  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art  after  the 

Caldwell:  No,  I  didn't.   I  left  the  Museum  at  the  time  of  the  Fair,  and  I 
lectured  at  the  Fair  the  whole  time --very  well  paid,  by  the  way, 
for  the  time.   After  that  I  knew  that  somehow  or  other  it 
wouldn't  be  a  good  idea  to  go  back  to  the  Museum. 


It  was  at  that  point,  consulting  with  my  husband,  that  I 
enrolled  at  the  University  of  California  graduate  school,  and 
with  no  idea  of  getting  a  doctorate.   Incidentally,  I  never  had 
any  idea  of  getting  a  doctorate,  because  at  that  time  in  order 
to  do  museum  work  a  master's  degree  was  sufficient.  And  it  was 
through  studying  with  another  great  Asian  scholar,  Otto 
Maenchen,  that  the  job  at  Mills  College  came  about. 

Riess:     Why  didn't  you  feel  it  was  a  good  idea  to  go  back  to  the  Museum? 

Caldwell:  Two  things.   I  think  perhaps  because  I  felt  not  so  comfortable 
with  my  relationship  with  Dr.  Morley.  And  partly  because  the 
scope  seemed  too  limited.   I  had  enjoyed  lecturing  there,  but 
there  came  a  time  when  I  felt  that  my  audience--.   They  were 
nice,  well-educated,  upper-middle-class  women  who  never  read  a 
book,  and  therefore  there  was  no  exchange  of  ideas,  no  feedback, 
and  I  didn't  want  to  do  that  kind  of  lecturing  any  more. 

I  had  no  idea  that  anything  so  delightful  and  rewarding 
would  turn  up  as  the  Mills  position.   When  I  enrolled  at  age 
forty  in  the  graduate  school  at  Berkeley,  I  had  no  idea  that 
anything  like  the  Mills  job  would  ever  come  into  my  hands.  And 
again,  you  see,  this  was  because  of  my  contact  with  yet  another 
Asian  art  scholar  [Otto  Maenchen]  that  this  happened. 

Riess:     At  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art  you  had  the  unenviable  task 
of  interpreting  modern  art? 

Caldwell:   Actually,  at  that  time  it  was  not  as  difficult  to  interpret 

modern  art  as  it  is  at  the  moment.   I  would  be  incapable  at  the 
moment  of  being  able  to  adequately  interpret  what's  happening 
now.   But  I  was  very  much  interested  in  contemporary  art.   I 
also  gave  lectures  that  went  back  into  the  19th  and  early  20th 
century--!  adore  the  Impressionists  and  Post -Impressionists. 
Actually  I  was  free  to  lecture  on  almost  anything  that  would 
interest  the  public.   It  didn't  have  to  focus  on  modern  art  just 
because  of  that  museum  being  modern  in  its  emphasis. 

Riess:     You  created  your  own  bank  of  slides? 

Caldwell:   The  museum  built  up  their  own,  and  I  helped  them  do  that.   I 

would  borrow  slides  from  Berkeley- -no,  Berkeley,  come  to  think 
of  it,  didn't  have  very  many  at  that  time.   No,  we  built  up  our 
own  collection. 

Riess:     Do  you  remember  the  names  of  studio  artists  you  had  lecture? 

Caldwell:   I  have  no  idea.   People  like  Ralph  Stackpole  had  long  since  left 
San  Francisco.  These  are  people  whose  names--!  deliberately 


chose  people  who  were  coming  up,  rather  than  the  accomplished 
ones,  to  give  them  a  chance. 

Riess:     Did  Grace  Morley  have  a  veto? 

Caldwell:   No.   And  that's  another  thing.   I  have  had  such  good  luck  in 

being  able  to  have  almost  complete  freedom  in  every  job  I  have 
ever  had.   She  was  extremely  agreeable  to  work  with  on  that 
point.   If  she  gave  you  an  area  of  the  museum  to  take  charge  of, 
that  was  your  job.   Though  sometimes  I  did  have  to  stay  late  at 
night  to  help  install  new  exhibitions,  but  I  enjoyed  that. 

There  was  one  man  who  was  kind  of  a  jack-of -all- trades, 
with  no  academic  background,  but  however  knew  a  tremendous  lot 
about  contemporary  art.   I  loved  working  with  him,  and  would  get 
his  opinions  about  [Max]  Beckmann,  and  all  sorts  of  people  I 
might  not  have  been  able  to  "see"  perceptively  without  his 

Incidentally,  Grace  Morley  did  have  trouble  working  with 
other  professionals—not  just  me- -from  the  point  of  view  of  her 
worrying  about  her  own  position.   She  need  not  have  worried, 
because  there  was  never  any  sense,  I  think,  of  competition  at 
all.   It  would  never  enter  my  head,  certainly. 

She  had  trouble  with  Elise  and  the  Women's  Board,  and  that 
might  be  understandable,  because  they  were  two  very  strong 
women.   But  the  person  whose  name  I  can't  think  of  who  was  sort 
of  an  assistant  director,  an  awfully  nice  person,  again  had  no 
sense  of  competition  with  Grace  Morley,  but  Grace  was  always 
sort  of  nervous  about  this. 

I  must  give  my  positive  opinion  of  Grace  Morley:  I  think 
she  did  more  for  art  history  in  San  Francisco  than  anybody 
previously.   She  came  to  San  Francisco  where  people,  as  I  said, 
didn't  know  who  Braque  and  Picasso  were- -I  mean  the  average 
educated  person- -and  she  turned  it  all  around.   She  really  and 
truly  put  on  exhibitions  of  a  quality  such  as  San  Franciscans 
had  never  seen  before.   And  I  think  that  a  great  debt  is  owed  to 

I  think  it's  a  shameful  thing  that  at  that  museum  that  she 
just  built  up  to  be  a  great  force  in  the  city  for  contemporary 
art  particularly,  that  there  is  no  memorial  to  her,  there  is  no 
room  dedicated  to  her.   There's  nothing.   And  she  really  turned 
San  Francisco  around  when  it  came  to  appreciation  of 
contemporary  art. 

Riess:     Yet  it  was  the  contemporary  art  that  Elise  Haas  opposed? 


Caldwell:   Well,  remember  that  was  over  a  long  period  of  time.   They  had 

worked  together  quite  well  for  a  while.   I  wish  I  could  remember 
what  exhibition  it  was  that  was  the  bone  of  contention,  but  it 
was  one  that  Elise  Haas  particularly  objected  to  from  the  point 
of  aesthetics. 

Riess:     Would  Grace  Morley  have  been  a  role  model  for  you? 

Caldwell:  Veil,  not  exactly,  because  I  never  had  any  desire  to  be  an 
administrator  of  a  museum. 

Riess :     But  a  model  of  a  strong  woman  in  an  academic  field? 

Caldwell:  Well,  yes.  Also,  I  was  very  grateful  to  her  because  she  gave  me 
so  much  freedom  to  conduct  what  I  was  doing  for  the  Museum  in  my 
own  way. 

Riess:     Did  you  have  a  social  life  among  the  artists  in  San  Francisco 
during  the  period  when  you  were  organizing  the  lectures  at  the 
San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art? 

Caldwell:  Not  really.  That's  another  thing.  Remember,  1  was  working 

there,  but  my  life  was  in  Berkeley,  and  my  social  contacts  were 
with  the  University  of  California.   So  that  in  a  sense  I  was 
almost  like  a  secretary  going  to  a  job  and  then  going  home. 
It's  not  that  my  job  was  similar,  but  from  the  point  of  view  of 
an  organization  of  one's  life.   After  all,  I  was  a  housewife, 
mother,  and  I  didn't  have  time  to  stay  over  in  San  Francisco  and 
socialize.   1  had  to  go  home  and  take  care  of  my  Job  at  home. 

Art  History  Graduate  Studies.  UC  Berkeley.  Faculty 

Riess:     You  were  rare,  weren't  you,  enrolling  in  the  graduate  program 
when  you  were  forty? 

Caldwell:  Oh  yes,  I  can't  tell  you  what  a  peculiar  bird  I  was  from  the 
point  of  view  of  the  other  young  graduate  students.   And  of 
course  I  wasn't  working  for  the  doctoral  program.   By  the  way, 
when  I  saw  the  kind  of  life  that  those  young  people  lived  that 
were  working  for  the  doctor's  oral  I  thought  that  was  a  horror  I 
would  never  want  to  experience  anyhow. 

Riess:     But  you  were  taking  it  all  seriously. 

Caldwell:   Oh  heavens,  yes,  I  was  enrolled,  and  wrote  thesis  papers.   I  was 
not  an  auditor  by  any  means.   Otherwise  I  wouldn't  have  been 


able  to  demonstrate  to  Otto  Maenchen  my  competence.   And  he 
could  not  have  recommended  me  to  the  job  if  1  had  been  an 

Rless :     You  were  in  school  in  1946 ,  a  time  when  the  student  body 
included  a  lot  of  returning  GIs,  an  older  population? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  I  was  very  much  the  eldest  of  any  other  students  I  saw 
there . 

And  there  was  another  thing:  there  was  a  great  prejudice 
against  having  older  women—middle-aged  equaled  "old"  at  that 
time- -admitted  to  the  graduate  school  because  they  didn't  think 
they'd  ever  get  a  job.   And  they  would  be  taking  the  place  of 
some  younger  person  for  whom  there  was  a  brighter  future  ahead. 

But  1  didn't  have  any  trouble  getting  in,  somehow.   And 
that  had  nothing  to  do  with  my  husband  being  a  professor  there. 
I  just  got  my  transcript  from  Harvard,  and  there  was  never  any 
question.   Maybe  it  was  because  the  art  history  department  was 
smaller,  and  there  wasn't  as  much  competition  as  there  might 
have  been,  say,  in  English  literature,  or  engineering,  or 
something  like  that. 

Riess:     Besides  Otto  Maenchen,  who  were  your  major  professors? 

Caldwell:   There  wasn't  anybody  else  in  Asian  art.   Of  course  I  had  to  take 
Western  art  too,  and  write  theses  for  my  courses  there. 

Walter  Horn  was  a  very  important  influence  from  the  point 
of  view  of  thoroughness  in  doing  one's  research.   I'll  never 
forget  his  bawling  out  a  student  in  seminar  because  he  gave  a 
reference  to  the  Encyclopedia  Britannica.   The  idea  of  anybody 
in  a  thesis  using  the  Encyclopedia  Britannica  as  a  source  was  so 
horrendous  that  you  would  have  thought  he  was  going  to  pick  that 
guy  up  and  whack  him.   It  was  a  very  tense  moment. 

Walter  Horn  went  over  [to  Europe]  after  the  Second  World 
War,  you  know,  to  identify  works  of  art  that  had  been  taken  from 
one  country  to  another.   When  he  came  back  he  would  talk  about 
all  these  adventures  he  had,  at  dinner  parties. 

Riess:     Amorous? 

Caldwell:  Yes.  And  of  course  his  first  wife  left  him  for  that  reason. 
Anyway,  he  was  a  wonderful  teacher.   I  don't  want  to  gossip 
about  his  life  of  the  heart.   He  was  a  remarkable  teacher. 


Riess:     To  get  this  straight,  you  were  just  going  for  another  master's 
degree  at  Berkeley? 

Caldwell:  Veil,  I  had  gotten  my  master's  at  Harvard,  in  museum  work.   I 

took  the  first  course  in  the  United  States  at  Harvard  in  museum 
work.  And  that's  why  I  did  not  go  in  for  the  Ph.D.  program.   I 
didn't  need  to,  and  furthermore,  I  really  don't  think  I  could 
have  handled  it.  Women  today  seem  to  do  this  with  the  greatest 
of  ease.   I  was  not  capable  of  handling  a  marriage  and  a  Ph.D. 
program,  not  smart  enough  to  do  that,  not  efficient  enough. 

Riess:     But  your  husband  was  supportive? 

Caldwell:   I  think  he  might  not  have  been  very  happy  about  my  being  in  a 
Ph.D.  program.   I  don't  want  to  suggest  for  a  moment  that  he 
ever  lifted  a  voice  against  anything  I  wanted  to  do,  but  you 
know  what  the  limits  are  of  your  relationship,  I  think. 

However,  I  honestly  don't  think  I  would  be  capable  of 
handling  a  domestic  life  and  a  professional  life  in  the  sense  of 
the  Ph.D.  program.   Those  young  people  whom  1  saw  when  1  was 
studying  at  Berkeley,  they  wouldn't  even  go  to  a  movie,  they 
were  so  intent,  they  wouldn't  do  anything  but  bone  up  for  that 
Ph.D.  oral.   Even  if  I  had  been  capable  of  handling  it,  I 
couldn't  have  done  that  to  my  marriage. 

Riess:     Your  program  was  two  years? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  and  then  the  job  at  Mills  was  available,  so  that's  how  I 
stopped  doing  that. 

Otto  Maenchen.  and  Anna  Maenchen 

Riess:     Tell  me  more  about  Otto  Maenchen. 
about  his  wife. 

Or  perhaps,  first,  tell  me 

Caldwell:   Anna  Maenchen.   Formidable  woman.   He  used  to  say, 
pocket  money,  my  wife,  she  makes  the  large  sums." 

'I  make  the 

I  knew  them  first  socially.   I  can  never  forget  how 
astonished  1  was  when  I  met  them.   There  weren't  people  here  at 
all  that  knew  anything  about  Asian  art.   I  met  him  at  a  cocktail 
party,  and  I  couldn't  believe  it  when  he  referred  to  a  very 
distinguished  Swedish  art  historian,  that  anybody  else  knew  who 


he  was  but  me.   [laughs]  And  that's  how  we  started.   It  was  a 
marvelous  experience  to  meet  somebody  with  the  same  interests. 

Riess:     This  was  before  you  were  in  the  master's  program. 

Caldwell:  Oh  yes,  yes,  I  met  him  a  long  time  before  I  was  in  his  class, 
long  before  1  was  a  student. 

Riess :     And  how  did  you  know  Anna? 

Caldwell:   I  knew  her  more  because  later  on  I  consulted  her  about  my 

mother,  and  I  had  an  enormous  admiration  for  her  professionally. 
But  I  think  she  was  one  of  the  most  self -centered,  hopelessly- 
egotistical  people  I  have  ever  known  in  my  life.   She  could 
never  talk  about  anything  but  herself  and  her  grandchildren  and 
her  life.   She  couldn't  sit  still;  she  would  pace  the  floor. 
Even  socially. 

Riess:     Even  after  she  stopped  practicing. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  she  never  gave  up  practice  until  she  died. 

But  I  had  a  great  admiration  for  her  professional 
expertise.   She  could  zero  in.   She  didn't  take  my  mother  on  as 
a  patient,  but  she  sent  her  to  a  psychiatrist,  somebody  with  a 
medical  background,  which  she  did  not  have.   She  gave  me  a 
referral,  and  I  went  to  that  person  to  consult  about  my  mother. 
Then  my  mother  was  a  patient  of  hers  for  a  short  time.   She  was 
able  to  diagnose  my  mother  very  quickly,  the  psychiatrist  that 
Anna  had  referred  me  to  for  her. 

More  on  Treasure  Island.  Arts  of  the  Pacific 

Caldwell:   I  cannot  understand  how  Rudolph  Schaeffer,  who  had  such  an 

extraordinary  eye,  and  particularly  for  ceramics,  doesn't  even 
mention  but  once --this  is  quoting  from  him- -"There  was  an 
exhibition  at  Treasure  Island."2  No  mention  is  made  by  Mr. 
Schaeffer  of  the  Asian  Art  Museum  at  Treasure  Island  where  the 
greatest  works  of  art  in  ceramics  that  ever  came  to  the  United 
States  from  England  were  on  exhibit. 

2Ref erring  to  Rudolph  Schaeffer,  The  Rudolph  Schaeffer  School  of 
Design:  Art  in  San  Francisco  Since  1915.  1992.   The  Regional  Oral  History 
Office,  The  Bancroft.  Library,  University  of  California,  Berkeley. 


Not  a  word  does  Schaeffer  say  about  the  great  collection  of 
Asian  Art  that  Langdon  Warner  put  on  at  the  '39- '40  fair.   I 
couldn't  understand  how  that  could  be.  From  the  point  of  view 
of  his  sensitivity,  how  could  he  not  have  gone  into  ecstasies 
over  this  great,  great  collection? 

Riess:     Did  people  go  into  ecstasies  over  it? 

Caldwell:   No,  and  if  you'd  like  to  talk  about  that, if  this  is  an 
appropriate  time? 

Riess:     This  is  an  appropriate  time. 

Caldwell:  All  right.  This  was  the  thing.   In  the  first  place,  the 

exhibition  emphasized,  of  course,  contemporary  art  a  great  deal. 
So  much  of  the  literature  that's  now  being  written  in  retrospect 
about  the  '39- '40  fair  has  to  do  with  the  layout  of  the  gardens, 
and  the  creativity  that  went  into  the  individual  buildings  which 
represented  the  different  countries.  Perfectly  appropriate, 
because  that ' s  what  they  had  done . 

But  the  Palace  of  Fine  Arts  had  the  highest  attendance  of 
any  concession,  if  you  could  call  it  that,  at  Treasure  Island, 
more  even  than  at  the  Gayway,  which  was  the  term  they  used  for 
the  amusement  zone  then.   As  you  entered  the  arts  building,  if 
you  went  to  the  right  you  went  to  the  Western  section,  and  if 
you  went  to  the  left,  the  whole  wing  was  Asian.   But  almost 
nobody  went  left  because  they  didn't  know  anything  about  Asian 

One  of  the  most  tragic,  heartbreaking  experiences  for 
Langdon  Warner  was  that  some  miserable  columnist  in  San 
Francisco  wrote  an  article  saying,  "Nobody  wants  to  go  to  the 
left  when  they  enter  the  Palace  of  Fine  Arts  to  look  at  the 
Asian  art.   Who  wants  to  do  that?"  And  that  was  a  brutal  blow 
to  Warner,  that  the  attendance  to  his  exhibition  was  so  sparse. 

Riess:     Did  you  make  an  effort  to  get  other  coverage  of  the  show? 

Caldwell:   Suzanne,  I  am  not  a  person  that  goes  in  for  controversy  very 

much.   I  cannot  tell  you  my  regrets  of  the  things  I  did  not  do. 
I  wish  I  had  gotten  in  touch  with  some  newspaper  person,  or  even 
written  something  myself.   I  didn't  do  it.   I  don't  seem  to  have 
the  impetus  to  do  that  kind  of  thing. 


Art  on  the  Gawav 

Caldwell:   About  the  Gayway,  there  was  one  very  funny  incident.   They  had  a 
nude  who  reclined  like  Manet's  nude,  the  Olympia.   Ve  heard 
about  this  at  the  museum.   A  few  of  us  went  over  on  our  lunch 
hour  to  get  acquainted  with  this  woman.   Utterly  ignorant.   Just 
as  ignorant  as  a  prostitute.   I  don't  mean  that  she  necessarily 
was,  but  there  she  was,  exposing  her  body  for  people  to  pay  to 

And  of  course,  she  had  never  heard  of  Manet's  painting.  We 
got  acquainted  with  her,  and  we  invited  her  to  lunch  one  day  and 
brought  her  over  to  the  museum  and  showed  her  a  picture  of  the 
Manet.   It  was  so  rare--I  was  so  enormously  busy  with  my  job,  I 
so  rarely  had  a  chance  to  circulate  in  any  other  parts  of  the 
fair,  but  I  thought  that  was  a  very  worthwhile  contact. 

Riess:     Tell  me,  while  we're  talking  about  the  fair,  about  the  Art  in 
Action  section. 

Caldwell:   Veil,  the  Art  in  Action  section  was  something  that  I  wasn't  as 
observant  about,  except  for  [Diego]  Rivera  who  was  making  this 
huge  mural.  He  was  up  on  a  scaffolding  with  this  big  bottom 
hanging  over  the  edge  of  it.   There  was  a  danger --be cause  of  the 
connection  with  Trotsky- -he  might  have  been  shot,  and  we  always 
used  to  be  so  worried  about  his  sitting  up  on  this  exposed 
place,  way  up  high,  painting. 

Riess:     Was  Art  in  Action  a  popular  part  of  the  fair? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  it  was  very  popular.  They  had  things  ongoing,  showing  the 

creation  of  pots,  and  of  course  Diego  Rivera.   Dorothy  Liebes--! 
can't  remember  whether  they  showed  weaving  or  not,  but  they  had 
lots  of  examples  in  her  part  of  it  of  different  kinds  of 
techniques  of  weaving.   She  was  introducing  a  great  deal  of 
metal  at  that  time  into  her  art. 

Riess:     You  have  a  letter  about  that? 

Caldwell:  Well,  this  [letter]  has  to  do  with  Langdon  Warner,  after  his 
death.   It  doesn't  have  a  date  on  here,  a  year  date.   "Just  a 
line,  Kay,  that  I've  thought  about  your  memorial "--meaning  to 
Warner- -"but  have  been  unable  to  locate  any  files  which  have  any 
bearing  on  the  story  more  than  what  you  have.   But  I  have 
thought  of  a  perfectly  marvelous  memorial.   Why  don't  you  work 
for  a  grove  of  the  redwoods?" 


And  then  she  added,  "As  you  know,  the  Langdon  Warner  grove 
would  be  a  lovely  memorial .   The  only  other  redwoods  known  are 
those  in  China.  Walter  and  Elise  Haas  were  here  last  night  for 
dinner,  and  Walter's  one  of  the  leading  people  in  Save- the - 
Redwoods  movement.   I  believe  you'd  get  much  support  for  the 
idea.  What  do  you  think?  --Dorothy." 

Friends  of  Far  Eastern  Art,  and  Other  Early  Interest  in  Asian 


Riess:     There  were  two  organizations  about  Asian  art  in  the  thirties. 
One  was  formed  by  Alfred  Salmony,  and  it  was  called  Friends  of 
Far  Eastern  Art.   Tell  me  what  that  was. 

Caldwell:   Well,  he  was  teaching  at  that  time  at  Mills  College,  so  in  a 

sense  it  was  based  at  Mills  College.   Unfortunately  the  data  1 
have,  the  file  on  that  organization,  does  not  list  the  people 
who  belonged  to  it.   But  that  is  the  organization  which 
Schaeffer  is  referring  to  when  he  says  that  Ching  Wah  Lee  was 
part  of  the  Asian  Art  Society,  as  he  refers  to  it  [in  the  oral 
history],  it's  not  the  one  that  had  to  do  with  the  Brundage 
collection.   This  [Friends  of  Far  Eastern  Art]  precedes  this  by 
a  good  many  years . 

Riess:     Rudolph  Schaeffer  was  involved  in  something  called  the  East-West 
Arts  Foundation,  and  he  calls  that  the  nucleus  of  the  Asian  Art 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know  about  that  in  any  particular--!  just  know  that  it 
existed,  but  1  had  nothing  to  do  with  it. 

Riess :     Were  there  two  groups ,  the  Salmony  group ,  and  the  Schaeffer 

Caldwell:   No,  Schaeffer  was  apparently  involved  in  the  Salmony  group,  and 
so  was  Ching  Wah  Lee.   When  Schaeffer  talks  about  the  nucleus  of 
the  [Ren6-Yvon]  d'Argence  Asian  Art  Society,  well  there  was  no 
d'Argence  Asian  Art  Society,  d'Argence  was  a  curator. 

Mr.  Schaeffer  eventually,  of  course,  was  very  much 
interested  in  the  acquisition  of  the  Brundage  collection,  but 
not  initially  a  part  of  the  organization  that  was  promoting  its 
acquisition.  He  was  a  Johnny-come-lately  on  art  from  the  point 
of  view  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art. 

Riess:     Can  you  say  anything  more  about  the  Friends  of  Far  Eastern  Art? 


Caldvell:   I  had  very  little  to  do  with  that  myself,  so  I  can't  really. 
The  idea  was  to  promote  acquisition  by  private  citizens,  that 
was  its  point,  to  try  to  get  people  to  collect  excellent 
examples  of  Asian  art.   Because  of  the  deception  that  had  been 
practiced  by  dealers  on  potential  buyers,  people  were 
discouraged  in  buying,  particularly  Chinese  art,  because  there 
was  too  much  disagreement  about  authenticity. 

At  that  time  the  unwary,  unsophisticated  collector  would 
take  the  word  of  the  dealer.   Nowadays,  nobody  would  dream  of 
buying  something  without  taking  it  to  a  museum  curator,  or  some 
very,  very  highly  qualified  appraiser.   I  mean,  there  are 
excellent  appraisers  who  are  quite  reliable,  but  in  those  days 
people  Just  thought  anybody  selling  Asian  art  must  know  it,  and 
that  wasn't  true. 

Riess:     Were  dealers  on  Grant  Avenue  reliable? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know  about- -no,  I  don't  think  it  was  a  matter  of  the 
ones  on  Grant  Avenue  being  deliberately  deceptive.   I  can't 
remember  the  name  of  the  man  that  was  a  particular  villain  in 
this,  the  dealer,  but  he  was  a  Westerner,  he  was  not  a  Chinese. 

I'm  not  blaming  the  Chinese  Chinatown  people  in  their 
little  shops.   They  didn't  know,  because  they  hadn't  been 
educated,  they  had  no  academic  background  at  all,  and  they  had 
no  intention  to  deceive.   The  dealer  I'm  referring  to,  whose 
name  I  do  not  remember,  was  definitely  out  to  make  sales  and  to 
make  claims  of  authenticity  which  were  not  valid. 

Salmony  came  here  and  found  there  were  people  who  had 
collected  works  of  art  which  were  of  no  historical  importance. 
He  founded  the  society  with  the  idea  of  educating  people, 
leading  them  into  the  straight  and  narrow  path  of  authenticity. 

Riess:     Too  bad  we  can't  think  of  some  of  the  names  of  the  people  who 
might  have  been  members . 

Caldwell:   I've  tried  very  hard  in  going  back  in  the  files  at  Mills  to  find 
data  on  this,  and  unfortunately  I  have  not  so  far  been  able  to 
dig  anything  up.   I'm  not  quite  sure  why  I  was  not  very  much 
involved  in  that  organization.   I  was  interested.   Maybe  it  was 
because  Salmony  himself  was  an  abrasive  personality.   But  in  any 
case,  I  was  not  on  the  board  of  that.   I  must  have  belonged  to 
it,  and  I  greatly  approved  of  Salmony's  trying  to  purify,  from 
the  point  of  view  of  authenticity,  the  standards  of  collection. 

It  is  important  to  straighten  out  the  misstatements  of  Mr. 
Schaeffer,  such  a  dear  person.   I  knew  him  off  and  on,  admired 


him  as  an  artist  extravagantly,  and  was  amazed  as  I  always  am  at 
the  innate  taste  that  some  people  have  without  any  academic 
training  at  all.   His  academic  training  was  in  practice  of  art, 
but  not  of  the  history  of  it,  and  yet  without  any  knowledge  of 
the  history  of  Chinese  art  he  could  recognize  a  great  work.  And 
his  own  collection  was  unbelievably  authentic  and  aesthetically 

Riess:     Did  you  see  his  collection  in  exhibitions? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  no,  I  used  to  go  over  and  visit  him.   1  didn't  know  him 
well,  but  nobody  could  fail  to  fall  for  his  charm.   He  was 
friendly  to  everyone,  and  particularly  gratified  when  people 
shared  his  enthusiasms.   1  never  had  any  deep  friendship  with 
him,  just  an  admiration  from  afar  and  occasionally  going  over  to 
see  him. 

Riess:     Did  his  little  gallery  have  some  exhibitions?  He  had  something 
called  the  East  West  Gallery,  1  believe. 

Caldwell:   He  had  things  on  exhibition.   I  knew  him  when  he  was  on  Potrero 
Hill  [after  1955].   Earlier  on  he  had  a  studio  near  Chinatown 
[St.  Anne  Street],  but  I  didn't  know  him  at  that  time.   For  the 
historical  record,  it's  important  to  make  this  distinction. 

Riess:     Ching  Vah  Lee's  collection  was  sold  at  Sotheby's  for  more  than  a 
million  dollars. 

Caldwell:   He  had  very  fine  things. 
Riess:     Where  was  his  collection? 

Caldwell:   He  had  a  shop  in  San  Francisco.   He  was  a  dealer,  and  he  had  a 
shop  in  San  Francisco. 

Riess:     He  was  one  of  the  scrupulous  dealers? 
Caldwell:  Yes. 

More  on  Graduate  Studies 

Riess:     In  Stephen  Pepper's  oral  history  he  talked  about  organizing  the 
Ph.D.  program  in  art  history,  which  was  first  offered  in  1948. 
The  faculty  for  the  program  was  Walter  Horn,  Oliver  Washburn, 
Daryll  Amyx,  Otto  Maenchen,  and  Eugen  Neuhaus.  Langdon  Warner, 
whom  Pepper  knew  and  consulted,  warned  Pepper  against  Maenchen, 


saying  Maenchen  vas  in  the  German  school,  and  pedantic,  and  did 
not  have  a  humane  approach  to  art  history.   He  said  that  he  was 
a  genuine  scholar,  but  did  not  have  a  great  breadth  of 

Caldwell:   I'd  agree  with  that  about  Maenchen.   He  was  a  meticulous, 

precise  scholar.  He  was  very  skeptical  of  "appreciation."  He 
was  all  for  very  carefully-phrased  scholastic  comments.   He 
didn't  want  to  emphasize  aesthetics,  because  he  thought  that  was 
imprecise.  That  didn't  mean  that  he  didn't  enjoy  looking  at 
works  of  art,  and  he  had  some  very  beautiful  ones  of  his  own, 
but  he  did  not  want  the  word  "beautiful"  or  words  of  pure 
appreciation  used,  because  he  didn't  think  they  were  precise 
enough.   He  was  there  to  talk  to  you  about  the  nitty-gritty  of 
the  history.  And  he  was  very  severe  in  his  classes.   For  some 
reason  or  other  he  did  not  want  questions  asked. 

Riess:  Vas  it  something  about  language  difficulty? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  he  spoke  English  fluently.   He  had  a  strong  accent. 

Riess:  He  had  come  from  Vienna  before  the  war? 

Caldwell:  I  don't  know. 

Riess:  Was  he  Jewish? 

Caldwell:  Vas  it  he,  or  was  it  his  wife?  Or  maybe  both  of  them. 

Aurelia  Reinhardt,  the  president  of  Mills,  in  a  brilliant 
stroke  had  brought  Maenchen,  Salmony  [1934],  Alfred  Neumeyer 
[1935],  and  Darius  Milhaud,  all  to  Mills  College  as  refugees 
from  the  prejudice  against  Jews  in  Germany.  Neumeyer  never  left 
Mills,  whereas  Salmony  went  on  to  a  more  prestigious 
institution,  New  York  University. 

Riess:     Pepper  also  said  of  Langdon  Warner  that  he  was  more  superficial 
and  sentimental. 

Caldwell:   Langdon  Varner  always  was  on  the  defensive  for  himself,  always 
being  self-deprecatory,  because  he  did  not  have  the  academic 
background  that  other  scholars  had.   In  the  course  of  time  he 
has  been  faulted  for  inaccuracy.   Yes,  maybe  he  might  have  been 
sentimental  in  his  relations  with  the  Japanese  colleagues  that 
he  had. 

'Stephen  C.  Pepper  oral  history,  pp.  231-233, 



Caldwell : 

One  of  the  reasons,  of  course,  for  the  sentimentality 
towards  him  on  the  part  of  the  Japanese  was  because  of  their 
belief  that  he  saved  Kyoto  and  Nara  from  being  bombed.   Warner 
was  the  last  person  in  the  world  to  toot  his  own  horn,  he  was 
self -deprecatory,  and  he  claimed  this  wasn't  true  at  all.  But 
the  Japanese  fervently  believed  that  he  had  preserved  their 
great  artistic  treasures,  and  they  have  a  memorial  to  him  at  the 
Horiuji  Monastery  in  Nara. 

I  had  the  most  extraordinary  experience  because  I  was  a 
friend  and  student  of  Langdon  Warner's  in  going  to  Horiuji 
Monastery.   It's  one  of  the  oldest  and  most  prestigious  of  all 
the  early  monasteries  in  Japan.   It  was  a  snowy  day,  and  I  went 
with  a  man  named  Wu  who  was  a  curator  of  Oriental  art  at 
Princeton,  very  tall  and  very  haughty,  and  he  said,  "Don't  be 
foolish.  You'll  never  get  into  anything  this  day." 

There  was  a  particular  building  I  had  wanted  very  much  to 
see,  which  was  kept  locked  and  only  opened  to  the  public  once  a 
year.   We  had  tea,  as  we  always  did,  with  the  monks,  and  I 
mentioned  that  I  was  a  friend  of  Langdon  Warner's  and  had 
studied  with  him,  and  asked  if  it  would  be  possible  to  see  this 
particular  place.   They  said- -this  was  in  the  morning- -they 
said,  "Come  back  after  lunch."   So  we  walked  around,  and  I  was 
kidded  by  these  scholars  I  was  with  at  the  very  thought  that 
they  would  do  a  thing  like  this.   "No,  once  a  year  only." 

We  came  back,  and  after  more  tea  they  said,  "In  honor  of 
the  friend  of  Langdon  Warner's  we  will  open  this  temple."  We 
trudged  through  the  snow  to  this  building.   In  there  was  a 
beautiful  statue,  almost  human-sized,  one  of  the  most  beautiful 
in  Japan,  called  the  Yunedono,  and  that's  what  I  wanted  to  see. 
And  they  opened  it. 

Because  it  was  a  religious  building  they  then  started  this 
wonderful  chanting.  The  snow  was  coming  down,  and  the  chanting 
was  floating  out  on  the  snow,  and  we  all  bowed,  of  course,  in 
deference  to  their  religion.   Then  all  of  a  sudden,  the  ceremony 
being  over,  they  said,  "Just  go  right  up,  go  right  in,  and  enjoy 
yourself."  A  great  experience.   And  all  because  of  my 
friendship  with  Langdon  Warner.   And  oh,  did  I  have  the  laugh  on 
my  scornful  friends  from  Princeton. 

Pepper  says  of  Langdon  Warner  that  he  might  have  come  to  teach 
at  Berkeley,  but  that  he  was  too  old  to  be  thought  of. 

Langdon  Warner  didn't  have  the  kind  of  strict  academic 
discipline  that  the  Ph.D.  implies.  However,  Langdon 's  great 
contribution  to  the  history  of  Asian  art  in  America  was  his 


appreciation,  perception,  and  knowledge  of  Japanese  art,  which 
had  not  been  appreciated  here  at  all. 

He  brought  to  the  attention  of  scholarship  and  to  students 
in  his  classes  knowledge  of  works  of  art  that  they  never  would 
have  known  about.   There  had  been  a  great  deal  of  scholarship  in 
Chinese  art,  but  not  Japanese,  and  he  directed  the  attention  of 
the  scholarly  world  to  the  greatness  of  Japanese  art.   He,  so  to 
speak,  for  America  discovered  Japanese  art.   He  did  do  some  very 
good  work  on  this . 

As  time  went  on  and  the  more  searching,  careful 
archaeological  techniques  were  developed,  he  was  not  a  part  of 
that  kind  of  discipline  and  knowledge.   So  he  has  been,  shall  we 
say,  patronized  in  references  to  him  by  other  scholars.   On  the 
other  hand,  1  think  anyone  who  knows  the  field  would  realize  how 
much  he  did  in  introducing  the  field  of  Japanese  art  history  to 

Riess:     And  he  didn't  read  Japanese? 

Caldwell:   No,  in  those  days  none  of  them  did.   Sherman  Lee  didn't.   Alfred 
Salmony,  the  great  German  scholar  who  came  over  here  as  a  Jewish 
refugee  and  was  at  Mills  College  for  a  while,  none  of  that 
generation  went  in  for  studying  Japanese,  or  Chinese,  as  the 
case  may  be. 

When  1  was  a  student  at  Harvard  you  were  not  allowed  to 
study  either  Japanese  or  Chinese  unless  you  were  to  make  it  the 
focus  of  your  studies.  You  could  not  combine  Chinese  or 
Japanese,  let's  say,  with  history  or  sociology  or  art  history, 
because  they  said  the  Chinese  or  Japanese  languages  were  so 
difficult  that  you  could  not  possibly  use  your  time  or  energy  on 
anything  else. 

They  said  that  because  of  the  difficulty  of  these  languages 
that  you  should  collaborate.   You  should  get  somebody  who  is  a 
specialist  in  Chinese  or  Japanese  to  translate  what  it  is  you 
need.  When  I  was  there,  you  see,  in  1929,  that  position  was 
held,  and  that's  the  reason  I  myself  do  not  know  Chinese  or 

I  am  very  anxious  to  point  out  that  Langdon  was  not  an 
exception  in  this;  none  of  the  scholars  at  that  time  knew 
Chinese  or  Japanese  —  of  his  day.   It  was  not  until  the  Second 
World  War  when  they  had  to  have,  particularly  in  Japanese, 
trained  people  who  could  deal  with  the  Japanese  language,  and 
they  had  these  crash  courses,  day  and  night,  month  in,  month 
out.   A  dedication  of  unbelievable  difficulty. 








Caldwell : 

Those  years  of  graduate  school  were  a  very  happy  couple  of 
years  for  me.   I  simply  loved  studying,  and  the  smell  of  the 
library  stacks.  Then  all  of  a  sudden  somebody  at  Mills  who  was 
teaching  Asian  art,  a  young  man,  he  had  a  nervous  breakdown,  or 
some  crisis  occurred,  and  the  dean  of  the  faculty  at  Mills 
called  Maenchen  and  asked  whom  he  would  recommend  to  take  the 
job,  and  he  recommended  me.  And  that's  how  I  got  the  job.   No 
Ph.D.   Of  course,  that  would  be  out  of  the  question  now. 

Did  you  do  any  work  at  Berkeley  in  Asian  history? 
Lessing,  Peter  Boodberg,  Edward  Schafer? 



I  would  audit  classes  sometimes,  on  my  own.   Yes,  indeed. 
Boodberg  particularly.   He  was  highly  specialized  in  the 
language ;  he  could  lecture  for  two  weeks  out  of  the  month  maybe 
on  one  Chinese  character.   And  such  a  character  himself!   What  a 
wonderful  man!   He  was  a  great  experience  to  know. 

Edward  Schafer  was  a  brilliant  scholar  and  wrote 
eloquently.   He  was  one  of  the  worst  lecturers,  ever,  in  the 
University.   I  used  to  try  to  audit  his  courses,  but  I  found  him 
so  impossibly  dull  and  non- communicative  that  1  gave  up  on  him. 
But  I  bought  all  of  his  books  and  was  a  great  admirer  of  him. 

And  when  I  got  even  more  interested  in  Japanese  art  1  did  a 
great  deal  of  study  of  history  and  sociology  and  so  on.   I  went 
in  greater  depth  into  Japanese  art  than  I  did  in  Chinese . 

Were  there  Chinese  or  Japanese  students  in  the  art  history 
graduate  program? 

I  don't  remember  any  particularly  then. 

Did  you  read  in  Oriental  religion  and  philosophy? 

Oh  yes,  a  great  deal,  but  this  I  was  interested  in  on  my  own, 
not  necessarily  through  courses. 

Do  you  feel  that  you  understand  the  Eastern  mind? 

[laughs]   Oh,  does  anyone? 

It  seems  important  in  being  a  student  of  their  art. 

I  don't  think  one  ever  can  understand  the  Japanese  mind.   They 
are  so  ingrown,  so  limited  in  their  judgments  to  their  own 
culture.  They  can't  understand  other  manners  or  customs  than 
their  own.   They  really  and  truly  have  a  phobia  against 
foreigners,  they  really  have,  for  all  their  politeness.  To 


understand  the  Japanese  psychology  and  sociology  is  very,  very 

And  I  should  say  I  spent  quite  a  long  time  on  the  Japanese 
language,  I  studied  Japanese  for  quite  a  while.   After  Jim 
Caldwell  died  I  immersed  myself  in  this.   So  I  have  some 
knowledge  of  the  relationship  of  the  language  to  the  social 
customs.   The  many  layers  and  subtleties  of  language.   For 
example ,  the  male  language  and  the  female  language ,  which  is  not 
only  in  respect  to  nouns,  but  actually  verb  structures.   1  did 
go  in  some  depth  into  Japanese  psychology  in  respect  to 
language.   I  did  an  enormous  amount  of  studying  on  my  own. 

Job  at  Mills  College.  1951 

Riess:     After  Otto  Maenchen  recommended  you  to  teach  at  Mills,  then 
what?  Who  interviewed  you? 

Caldwell:   Nobody  interviewed  me.   It's  really  very  odd.   The  dean  of  the 
faculty,  at  least  at  that  time,  seemed  to  have  complete 
authority  to  hire  faculty  members,  and  she  had  consulted  Dr. 

Riess:     Who  was  that?  That  wasn't  Mary  Woods  Bennett,  was  it? 

Caldwell:   No,  it  wasn't  Mary  Woods  Bennett,  with  whom  I  became  very  good 
friends  later.   I  can't  remember  the  name  of  the  person  who 
preceded  her. 

Riess:     Lynn  White  was  president  then? 

Caldwell:   He  didn't  interview  me  either.   I  knew  him  socially,  and  I  was 
very  much  drawn  to  him  because  he  was  a  scholar- -in  archaeology 
really.   I  used  to  love  to  go  and  see  him  and  talk  to  him, 
because  he  was  interested  in  Chinese  art. 

But  then  Alfred  Neumeyer  very  courteously  welcomed  me,  and 
introduced  me  the  first  day  to  my  class.   He  seemed  to  be  very 
pleased  to  have  somebody  else  there  teaching  art  history,  even 
though  we  were  in  such  opposite  fields. 

Riess:     He  was  the  department,  essentially? 

Caldwell:  He  was  the  only  other  art  historian  at  the  time.  Yes,  he  taught 
the  whole  of  Western  art,  you  see.  There  were  other  people  in 
the  faculty  in  the  studio  arts,  sculpture  and  painting,  and  in 







ceramics --Mills  College  has  always  been  distinguished  in 

And  that  was  its  strength,  the  practice  side. 

Yes.   [Antonio]  Prieto  was  there  at  that  time,  who  died  all  too 
young.   He  was  very  distinguished  in  his  field. 

An  article  about  when  you  were  teaching  at  Mills  said  that  you 
were  "the  only  contact  with  Asian  culture  for  several 
generations  of  art  majors,  and  other  assorted  students  inclined 
towards  exotica."  That  was  the  feeling,  that  it  was  the  "exotic 
East"  still? 

Well,  that  was  the  attitude  of  the  public  at  that  time.   Even 
now  they  refer  to  Asian  music  in- -I  can't  think  of  the  word- -but 
for  example,  down  at  the  University  of  Southern  California  they 
specialize  in  Asian  music,  and  in  African  too,  I  think,  and  they 
refer  to  it  not  as  exotica,  but  some  word  that  makes  it  sound  as 
if  it  were  not  part  of  the  mainstream.  Which  of  course  it 
isn't,  according  to  our  culture. 

1  studied  a  great  deal  about  Asian  philosophy, 
studied  Buddhism  and  Shintoism. 

On  your  own,  you're  saying? 
Oh,  yes. 


Lvnn  White's  Presidency  of  Mills 

Riess:     One  of  the  bits  of  history  of  Mills  that  I  read  was  that  Lynn 

White  wanted  to  focus  on  Korean  art  at  Mills,  since  he  felt  that 
Japanese  and  Chinese  were  covered  by  the  sister  universities. 

Caldwell:  That's  news  to  me.   I  never  heard  him  refer  to  it.  He  was 

interested  in  technology,  and  at  the  time  1  knew  Lynn  best  he 
was  trying  to  discover  the  invention  of  the  stirrup.   [laughter] 
He  was  not  interested  in  art  history,  he  was  interested  in 
technology.  And  the  Chinese,  of  course,  are  known  for  their 
extraordinary  expertise  in  science --up  to  a  certain  point. 
There  is  a  huge  volume  written  on  the  scientific  achievements  of 
the  Chinese  by  a  great  English  scholar  named  [Joseph]  Needham 
called  Science  and  Civilization  in  China. 


Anyway,  when  I  was  going  off  to  England  with  Jim  on 
sabbatical,  Lynn  said  to  me,  "Now,  Kay,  when  you're  in  British 
museums,  if  you  see  anything  that  looks  like  a  stirrup,  let  me 
know. " 

I  didn't  know  anything  about  Near  Eastern  stuff,  but  one 
day  I  saw  a  little  clay  impression,  not  of  a  stirrup  but  of  a 
little  platform  underneath  the  foot.   It  didn't  have  the  curve 
over  it.   So  1  had  a  huge  photograph  blown  up  and  sent  it  to 
Lynn.  He  published  it  in  a  book,  and  his  acknowledgement  was 
not  "Katherine  Caldwell,"  but  "Mrs.  James  Caldwell."  And  I 
never  forgave  him  for  that.   I  loved  my  husband  dearly,  and 
socially  1  was  Mrs.  James  Caldwell,  but  when  it  came  to 
scholarship,  I  expected  to  be  called  by  my  own  name. 

Riess:     Do  you  think  that  was  unconscious? 

Caldwell:  No.   I  think  that  Lynn  never  really  thought  of  women  as 

intellectual  equals.   It  was  known  that  when  we  had  social 
events  at  Mills  he  always  gravitated  toward  the  men  faculty 
members.   And  then  he  wrote  that  book  called  Educating  Our 
Daughters .  and  the  point  of  the  book  was  that  since  women's  role 
in  life  was  domestic,  they  should  make  an  art  of  it.   They 
should  learn  how  to  weave  the  material  for  their  curtains,  and 
do  gourmet  cooking,  for  example. 

I  think  that's  the  reason,  among  others,  that  he  was  asked 
to  leave  Mills  College,  though  he  was  an  excellent  scholar.  He 
went  to  UCLA  after  he  left  Mills,  on  their  faculty. 

Riess:     That  was  not  tongue-in-cheek,  all  of  that? 

Caldwell:   No.   Later  on,  at  Wheeler  Hall  in  Berkeley,  Lynn  was  asked  to 
come  to  comment  on  his  book.   Jim  and  I  went- -Jim  and  I  both 
liked  Lynn  personally  very,  very  much.  When  the  question  period 
came,  there  was  an  awkward  silence  because  nobody  asked  any 
questions.   And  Jim  Caldwell  said,  "Now,  Lynn,  you  know,  the 
point  of  your  book  is  to  send  women  back  to  the  kitchen." 
[laughter]   That  was  pretty  much  the  sentiment  of  his  book. 

Riess:     I  wonder  if,  at  that  time  at  Mills,  there  was  a  lot  of  sympathy 
for  that  attitude. 

Caldwell:  Well,  they  had  a  number  of  practical  courses.  They  had  a  course 
in  weaving,  and  I  think  that's  a  good  thing  to  have  in  an  art 
department.   The  Japanese  attitude  towards  art  is  not  to  make  a 
distinction  between  the  arts  and  the  crafts. 


Riess:     I  think  that  the  education  of  women  was  not  at  its  high  point  in 
the  fifties.   It  was  not  the  most  enlightened  time. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  no.   It  was  not.   The  assumption  was  not  made  that  a  woman 
would  have  a  career  on  her  own,  as  it  is  today.   It's  the 
exception  nowadays  for  a  young  woman  not  to  have  her  own  field 
of  expertise  or  interest. 

Riess:     Easton  Rothwell  was  president  of  Mills  from  1959  to  1967. 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   I  was  very  fond- -everybody  was  fond  of  Easton.   He's  a 
lovable,  charming  man.  He  was  another  person  who  always  gave 
the  impression  that  the  person  he  was  talking  to  was  the  most 
interesting  person  in  his  life  at  the  moment.   Everybody  had 
that  feeling  about  Easton.   And  his  wife,  Ginny,  with  whom  I 
keep  up  a  friendship  to  this  day,  is  a  caring  person  too. 

Riess:     Did  he  [Rothwell]  have  any  particular  interest  in  Asian  studies? 

Caldwell:   I  never  thought  he  had  a  special  interest  in  Asian  studies. 

Nothing  in  relation  to  my  work  at  all.  Just  he  was  everybody's 
friend,  really.   I  had  much  more  in  common  with  Lynn  White  on 
the  professional  side  than  I  had  with  any  other  president  of 
Mills.   I  was  under  three  presidents  there. 

Course  Work  in  Art  History 

Riess:     You  started  out  teaching  art  history,  rather  than  Asian  art 

Caldwell:  No,  my  field  was  always  in  Asian  art  history,  chiefly  China  and 
Japan.  I  had  two  courses.  I  was  a  part-time  worker,  employee, 
whatever,  called  a  lecturer  then.  It  was  only  later  that  I  was 
given  the  dignity  of  the  name  of  a  professor. 

I  had  two  courses,  One  was  a  survey  course,  which  did 
include  India  up  to  a  certain  point.   That  was  imitating 
Harvard,  because  at  Harvard  they  had  a  course- -actually,  it 
included  the  Middle  East  as  well  as  the  continent  of  India.   I 
didn't  know  Indian  art  in  any  depth.   I  knew  more  than  my 
students  did,  of  course,  but  it  was  not  my  main  interest.   I 
felt  because  my  training  at  Harvard  did  include  India,  and  since 
Buddhism  arose  there,  that  Indian  art  should  be  included.   But 
that  was  a  limited  area. 


My  emphasis  was  on  China  and  Japan.   And  each  year  I  gave, 
in  addition  to  the  survey  course,  one  year  on  Chinese  art  and 
the  next  year  on  Japanese  art. 

Riess:     And  did  you  have  to  talk  them  into  offering  those  classes? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  no.  That's  one  thing.   I  think  that's--!  don't  know  how  It 
is  at  Berkeley  now,  but  in  my  husband's  day  at  Berkeley  the 
professor  had  enormous  autonomy  over  his  own  classes.   And 
similarly  I  had  absolute  freedom  to  do  anything  I  wanted.   It 
was  very  much  a  responsibility,  and  I  tried  very  hard  to  keep  up 
with  current  research. 

I  would  often  audit  classes  at  UC  Berkeley.   At  that  time 
the  teaching  of  Asian  art  at  Berkeley  was  limited.   Really, 
Maenchen  was  the  first  expert  they  had.  But  my  point  is  that 
they  didn't  break  down  the  history  of  Asian  art  in  terms  of  an 
expert  in  India,  an  expert  in  China,  an  expert  in  Japan.   It  was 
a  survey  course.   This,  of  course,  is  still  true  at  Mills;  they 
haven't  the  money  to  have  an  expert  in  each  of  the 
civilizations . 

Riess :     But  when  you  were  there ,  you  did  break  it  down  into  Japanese  and 

Caldwell:   Veil,  yes,  but  my  point  is  that  nowadays  the  idea  would  be  to 

have  one  specialist  just  in  India,  one  specialist  just  in  Japan, 
another  one  just  in  China.  Asian  art  was  not  routinely  taught 
in  very  many  institutions  then. 

Mills- -I  really  intend  to  document  this- -I  think  Mills  was 
the  first  college  west  of  Chicago  to  have  courses  in  Asian  art. 
I'm  fairly  sure  that's  true.   You  see,  the  Millses,  who  actually 
founded  Mills,  were  interested  in  Asia.   They  had  been 
missionaries,  in  Burma,  I  believe. 

The  Students 

Caldwell:   In  any  case,  I  enjoyed  the  classes  very,  very  much,  and  one  of 
the  things  I  want  to  say  is  that  the  students  were  excellent. 
The  students  really  came  to  Mills  to  study.   I  don't  mean  there 
weren't  exceptions,  but  for  the  most  part  they  were  very 
responsible,  and  they  followed  up  on  what  they  were  asked  to  do. 
And  of  course,  the  classes  were  small  and  one  could  have  a 
personal  relationship  with  one's  students. 


Riess:     You  had  Asian  students  at  Mills. 

Caldwell:   Veil,  yes,  from  Japan  mostly.   I  had  one  student  whose  father 
was  a  Japanese  representative  in  the  United  Nations.  Very 
interesting.  And  then  there  was  another  girl  from  Thailand  who 
was  an  ardent  Buddhist.  Mills  provided  rice  for  her  meals  three 
times  a  day,  and  she  was  such  an  ardent  Buddhist,  I  remember 
once  when  she  was  home  with  a  cold,  telling  the  class  to  be  sure 
to  be  very,  very  respectful  when  we  talked  about  Buddhism.   Not 
that  they  were  ever  disrespectful,  but  a  little  extra  solemn 
maybe .   [ laughs ] 

Riess:     Did  you  find  yourself  feeling  kind  of  warmly  parental  towards 
these  girls? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  believe  in  the  parental  attitude.   I  think  just  the 
opposite.   I  called  them  by  their  last  names  in  class,  which 
probably  isn't  done  now,  because  I  felt  they  were  no  longer  high 
school  students,  and  I  felt  they  should  be  treated  as  adults. 
Even  if  they  didn't  always  act  that  way. 

Riess:     It  would  be  hard  not  to  be  aware  that  you  were  in  an  all-woman 
atmosphere . 

Caldwell:   In  terms  of  the  future,  I  thought  of  them  as  individuals- - 

perhaps  because  of  my  mother's  role  model  as  a  person  with  a 
life  of  her  own- -I  thought  of  them  as  going  out  into  the  world, 
maybe  in  many  directions. 

Riess:     And  you  were  kind  of  a  role  model  for  them,  perhaps. 

Caldwell:   Yes.   And  remember,  I  had  grown  up  in  Berkeley  in  coeducation,  I 
had  gone  to  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  a  coeducational 
institution.   And  when  1  was  at  Harvard,  my  classes  in  those 
days  were  almost  all  in  the  Harvard  Yard  and  not  segregated.   I 
had  a  couple  of  segregated  classes,  notably  with  Mr.  Whitehead, 
but  for  the  most  part,  I  worked  in  classes  that  were 
coeducational  at  Harvard. 

So  this  was  a  new  experience  for  me,  to  teach  at  a  college 
that  was  all  female.   And  1  treated  them  more  as  if  it  were  a 
coeducational  one,  I  think.   I  never  thought  of  them  just 
as- -they  were  obviously  women,  but  I  thought  of  them  as 
individuals . 

Speaking  of  Asian  students,  I  had  one  very  beautiful  Indian 
girl  from  a  very  highly  educated  background.   She  spoke  British 
English,  and  she  had  been  brought  up  in  a  Catholic  atmosphere. 
She  told  me  about  how  much  the  nuns  had  wanted  the  students  to 


be  acquainted  with  the  New  Testament,  and  how  they  had  to 
memorize  long  passages  of  it.   The  nun  would,  when  they  were  in 
a  circle,  point  to  one  girl  and  have  her  start  out,  "In  the 
beginning  was  the  word,  and  the  word  was  with  God,"  and  then  the 
next  one  carried  on,  and  so  on.   So  you  had  to  be  alert,  and  so 
familiar  with  the  passage  you  could  pick  it  up. 

After  she'd  said  this,  I  said,  "In  that  case,  you  must  have 
been  converted  to  Christianity."  And  a  look  of  perfect  horror 
came  over  her.   "Oh,  Mrs.  Caldwell,  no!"  And  she  got  up --this 
was  in  my  off ice- -out  of  her  chair,  and  she  knelt  down,  and 
pressed  her  hands  together,  and  said,  "I  worship  Lord  Krishna." 
I'll  never  forget.   This  beautiful  girl.   [laughs] 

Academic  Life  and  Resources  at  Mills 








How  did  your  classes  fit  into  Mills'  general  program  in  the 

Veil,  it  was  an  elective  course,  except  for  people  majoring  in 
art  history.   So  when  you  say  fit  in,  it  was  never  a 
requirement,  and  in  a  way  I  liked  that  idea.   I  liked  the  fact 
that  the  course  was  taken  out  of  voluntary  choice. 

Was  there  anything  offered  in  the  music  department  in  Asian 

No.  There  was  one  very  fine  scholar  in  Chinese  history,  and  he 
used  to  bring  his  classes  over  every  so  often  to  my  class,  so  we 

And  the  scholarly  atmosphere  at  Mills?   Were  you  so  much  a 
commuter  from  Berkeley  and  part-time  that  you  never  got 

You  mean  in  terms  of  my  relationship  to  the  faculty?  Because  my 
social  life  was  in  Berkeley,  and  I  had  my  domestic 
responsibilities,  I  didn't  spend  much  time  on  the  campus  outside 
of  my  teaching.   I  became  acquainted  with  people  in  the  art 
department,  of  course,  all  of  my  colleagues,  and  in  dance. 
Eleanor  Lauer,  who  was  head  of  the  dance  department,  and  I  were 
very  great  friends.  And  there  were  other  individuals  here  and 
there.   But  on  the  whole  I  wasn't  really  integrated,  let's  say, 
into  the  faculty  life  of  the  campus. 

Did  it  have  *  strong  faculty  life? 


Caldwell:  Veil,  they  did.   It  was  very  amusing,  because  until  they  built 
the  Rothwell  Center,  which  was  partly  for  students  and  partly 
for  faculty,  a  beautiful  building,  the  male  faculty  members  were 
very,  very  exclusive.   They  had  what  they  called  Kiva--you  know, 
a  kiva  is  an  American  Indian  male  retreat.  They  had  a  little 
building  there,  an  awful  little  shacky  building,  that  no  woman 
could  enter. 

And  the  story  went  that  Aurelia  Reinhardt- -this  was  before 
my  time --that  she  was  making  a  survey,  and  that  she  came  and 
knocked  on  the  door  and  expected  to  go  in,  and  was  refused 
entrance.  The  attitude  was  very- -this  faculty  was  very  socially 
segregated  when  I  first  went  there,  and  it  all  changed  after 
they  built  that  Rothwell  Center. 

Riess:     You  mean  sexually  segregated. 

Caldwell:  Yes.   And  then  the  Kiva  sort  of  dried  up.   So  that  later  on- -the 
relationship  now,  and  it  has  been  I  think  for  many  years,  very, 
very  easy  and  very,  very  accepting  of  men  and  women  socially.   I 
don't  think  there's  conceivably  any  division  of  the  sexes  on  the 
faculty  any  more. 

Riess :     You  said  that  you  knew  Mary  Voods  Bennett  quite  well  when  she 
came  in  1953? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   1  greatly  admired  her.   She  was  very  sympathetic  toward  my 
courses,  I  think.   I  mean,  I  got  that  impression.  Maybe 
everybody  did.   I  was  always  impressed  with  what  I  thought  was 
her  fabulous  memory,  and  I  mentioned  that  to  her,  and  she  said, 
"I  just  write  everything  down." 

I  did  not  participate  in  the  Mills  faculty  committees.   I 
was  not  obliged  to  as  a  lecturer.   So  I  didn't  have  that 
interchange  with  other  members  of  the  faculty,  except  as  I  made 
friends  on  a  purely  social  basis. 

1  think  that  I  was  impressed  with  the  freedom  that  one  had 
in  teaching,  and  in  ordering  one's  courses.   I  was  impressed 
with  the  extraordinary  seriousness  of  the  students. 

Riess:     Do  they  have  a  good  library  for  those  purposes? 

Caldwell:   Well,  Dr.  Salmony,  who  had  preceded  me  by  quite  a  little  while 

at  Mills,  had  an  extraordinary  ability  to  raise  funds,  and  there 
was  a  marvelous  library  up  to  that  point.   Much  of  it  was  in  the 
little  study,  the  little  office  that  I  had.   So  there  really 
was,  up  to  that  point,  a  very  good  library  with  emphasis  on 
Chinese  art. 


Of  course,  it  was  realized  that  these  students  were 
undergraduates,  were  being  taught  at  the  undergraduate  level. 
That's  another  thing;  I  was  very,  very  glad  that  the  master's 
degree  in  art  history  was  cancelled.  Neumeyer  was  sympathetic 
with  this  idea,  because  in  order  to  present  graduate  work 
adequately,  you  needed  to  have  specialists  in  many  different 
fields,  and  at  Mills  there  were  only  the  two  of  us  in  art 

Riess:     You  mean  there  had  been--? 

Caldwell:   They  had  given  a  master's  degree  in  art  history,  prior  to  the 

time  I  came  there.  And  actually,  the  first  few  years,  I  think, 
when  1  was  there.   I  was  so  glad  when  they  cancelled  that. 
Knowing  by  this  time  what  they  were  doing  under  Walter  Horn,  and 
Maenchen,  too,  at  Cal,  and  others,  it  seemed  to  me  not  really 
responsible  for  the  institution  [Mills]  to  give  master's  degrees 
in  art  history. 

Riess:     Did  teachings  in  Asian  art  history  expand  in  those  twenty  years 
that  you  were  there? 

Caldwell:   No,  and  to  this  day,  it's- -because  only  one  person  covers  the 
whole  field  of  Asian  art,  it  couldn't  expand.   It  could  only 
expand  by  having  specialists  in  each  civilization,  as  Cal 
eventually  did. 

Gallery  Exhibitions  at  Mills 

Riess:     What  was  your  role  in  exhibitions  in  the  Mills  gallery? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  I  put  on  a  couple  of  exhibitions  while  I  was  there.   One  was 
Ed  Grabhorn's  very  fine  collection  of  early  Japanese  prints,  and 
another  one  was  a  collection  of  Chinese  ceramics  that  was  owned 
by  a  professor  at  Berkeley  and  his  wife.  I  put  that  on  in  the 
art  gallery  there. 

That  was  something  I  forgot  to  say:  people  teaching  art 
history  were  expected  to  put  on  gallery  exhibits  from  time  to 
time,  and  that  was  the  best  one  I  put  on,  yes. 

Riess:     Did  you  send  your  students  to  museums  in  the  area? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  1  took  them  to  museums,  yes,  and  I  gave  them  little 

projects.   It  wasn' t--well,  it  was  in  '58  that  we  got  the 
Br*<ndage  collection,  but  it  wasn't  installed  for  a  while.   I  was 


at  Mills  from  '51  to  '71,  and  eventually,  in  the  course  of  a 
very  long  time,  they  installed  the  Brundage  collection. 

Riess:     But  prior  to  that  were  there  pieces  that  you  could  study? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes.   But  what  I  did- -that's  a  good  point,  1  forgot,  and 
rather  an  important  one .  There  was  a  little  exhibition 
case --just  one,  on  the  second  floor  of  the  art  building- -which 
was  all  locked  up  and  had  a  little  glass  window.   I  would  borrow 
from  people  in  San  Francisco  very,  very  rare  works  of  art.   So  I 
always  had  something  original  for  them  to  look  at. 

Riess:     How  did  you  manage  that? 

Caldwell:   I  knew  people  in  San  Francisco  who  had  rare  objects,  and  1  had 
portal -to -portal  insurance--!  wouldn't  have  dreamed  of  taking 
them  in  my  car  without  that  insurance.  And  1  kept  that  going. 
It's  very  frustrating  to  teach  art  history  with  those  little 
lantern  slides.   Something  that  might  be  three  inches  in  height, 
say  a  little  sculpture  with  high  quality  of  craftsmanship,  blown 
up  on  the  screen  might  look  like  an  enormous  sculpture,  and  vice 

Having  original  works  of  art  is  the  only  answer  to  giving 
an  adequate  idea  of  what  works  of  art  are  like.   I'm  glad  you 
mentioned  that,  because  that's  not  been  carried  on  since,  the 
constant  exhibition  of  fine  examples. 

Riess:     You  changed  it  how  often? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  maybe  a  couple  of  months,  maybe  six- -I  couldn't  take  the 
time.   That's  another  thing,  I  spent  so  much  more  time  on  the 
course  than  I  was  paid  for,  but  if  you  love  a  subject,  you  do 
this.  But  arranging  to  borrow  these  works  of  art  took  time, 
too,  and  getting  them. 

Riess:     Who  were  your  sources  in  San  Francisco? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  the  Haas  family.   Elise  Haas  had  some  beautiful  things. 
There  were  several  people  who  had  really  pretty  distinguished 
pieces.   Not  very  many,  but  still  enough.   I  only  could  show  one 
or  two  objects.  After  all,  it  wasn't  like  a  great  big  museum 

Riess:     One  of  the  things  you  did  for  Mills  was  build  up  their  slide 

Caldwell:  Yes,  I  did.   I  did  that  whenever  I  traveled.   In  1958  I  went  to 
Asia,  and  I  photographed  a  good  deal.   I  gave  all  of  my  slides 


to  the  art  department  at  Mills.   I  have  some  in  my  own  little 
specialty  of  Japanese  16th  to  18th  Century  illustrated  books. 
Those  I've  kept,  and  they  go  to  the  University  of  California 
when  I  die  because  they  are  good  for  research  purposes  on  the 
graduate  level. 

Riess:     That  trip  in  1958  was  your  first  trip? 
Caldwell:   Yes,  I  went  for  a  couple  of  months  to  Asia. 

On  my  return  from  that  trip,  when  I  had  my  last  look  at 
first-rate  works  of  Asian  art  in  Honolulu,  I  felt  so  sad  that  I 
wouldn't  see  anything  of  any  value  in  the  way  of  Asian  art  until 
I  traveled  again,  and  I  told  Mr.  Griff ing,  who  was  director  of 
the  Honolulu  Academy  of  Arts,  how  sad  it  was  that  San  Francisco 
had  no  fine  collection  of  Asian  art.   And  he  said,  "Why  don't 
you  go  back  to  San  Francisco  and  get  the  Brundage  collection?" 
(I  should  stop  at  that  point  probably,  as  we  will  speak  more 
about  that  next  time.) 

Riess:     Were  there  galleries  in  San  Francisco  that  would  have  been 

valuable  places  for  you  to  take  your  students  to  visit,  like  the 
Marsh  gallery? 

Caldwell:   And  Gump's?  No.   Gump's  had  a  few  good  things,  but  they  also 
had  so  many  inferior  things  that  it  was  not  a  good  idea  to 
confuse  people.   [laughs]   1  was  opposed  to  Gump's  because  I 
felt  that  though  they  occasionally  had  excellent  things,  that 
they  sold  very  poor  things  for  the  large  part,  wrongly 

Professional  Crisis,  and  Resolution 

Riess:     When  Easton  Rothwell  came  to  Mills  he  raised  the  salaries? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Oh,  before  that--.   I  just  have  to  say  that  while  Lynn 
White  was  there,  I  was  fired,  I  was  dropped,  as  an  economy 
matter.   Then  a  small  sum  was  raised  to  keep  me  on  for  one  year. 
And  since  the  course  was  well-attended,  they  decided  to  give  it 
again  as  part  of  the  regular  curriculum. 

That  was  a  terrible  crisis,  I'll  never  forget  it.   I  think 
I  probably  was  more  upset  by  that  than  any  personal 
experience --that  had  to  do  just  with  me,  didn't  have  to  do  with 


losing  loved  ones.   That  was  a  terrible  crisis  in  my  life.   I 
couldn't  believe  it. 

They  were  dropping  courses  all  over,  it  wasn't  personal  at 
all.  There  never  was  any  problem  about  that.  They  were 
dropping  other  courses  too,  as  an  economy  measure.  The  way 
Berkeley  is  now,  just  exactly  the  same  situation.   But  it  was 
such  a  terrible  crisis  in  my  life. 

I  had  given  my  whole  effort  to  Mills  College,  so  to  speak. 
It  was  the  focus- -well,  I  can't  say  my  family  wasn't  the  focus, 
but  you  know  when  you  have  a  profession  you  love,  how  much  you 
identify  with  it.   In  that  sense,  it  was  a  very  strong  focus. 
And  my  children  were  grown  and  on  their  own,  so  it  was  a 
frightful,  frightful  shock  to  me. 

Riess:     Did  you  look  for  teaching  work  anywhere  else? 

Caldwell:   No.   You  see,  there  was  no  time  that  it  stopped,  because  of  a 
private  fund.   But  it  was  a  whole  year  that  I  wasn't  paid  by 
Mills  College,  but  paid  by  private  funds.   I  never  stopped 
teaching.   But  I  was  humiliated  by  the  fact  that  I  wasn't  on  the 
regular  faculty.  And  then  the  next  year,  I  was  taken  on  again. 

Riess :     How  did  the  private  funds  come  about? 

Caldwell:   Well,  it  was  largely  my  mother's  doing.   Henriette  Durham 

[Lehman]  contributed  a  lot  of  money  to  that.   And  then  Dorothy 
Erskine  and  a  few  friends--. 

I  was  embarrassed.  My  mother  was  the  one  who  initiated  the 
idea  of  a  private  fund.   I  have  to  say,  my  mother  was  very 
distressed  at  my  distress;  I  think  in  deference  to  her  that  I 
should  record  this . 

Riess:     And  she  made  a  donation  to  Mills? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   Mother  gave  some,  but  not  much.   But  mostly  it  was 

Henriette  Durham  and  other  people,  a  few  other  friends- -Noel 
Sullivan.  Mother  asked  them,  of  course;  I  would  never  dream  of 

Riess:     To  continue  your  position. 

Caldwell:  Yes.   One  awful  year.   [laughs]   Then  Mills  picked  it  up  again. 

Riess:     I'm  glad  I  forced  you  to  say  that! 

Caldwell:   I  forgot--!  guess  it  was  such  a  humiliation  to  me  that  I 
unconsciously  buried  it,  but  I  didn't  mean  to. 









So  there  was  no  teaching  hiatus. 

No,  there  really  wasn't,  no,  that's  right. 

Neumeyer  was  terribly  upset.   He  couldn't  believe  it, 
because  he  knew  my  classes  had  been  so  successful. 

Yes,  and  besides  which,  it  would  double  his  work. 

Well,  he  wouldn't  take  up  Oriental  art.   Although  the  funny  part 
of  it  was --and  it  used  to  infuriate  my  husband- -one  year, 
Neumeyer  on  sabbatical  asked  me  to  take  over  his  survey  course! 
[tape  interruption] 

Alfred  Frankenstein- -do  you  remember  who  he  was? 


He  and  I  were  friends.   He  was  teaching  American  art  there,  and 
we  were  both  lecturers.   And  about--!  forget  how  many  years 
before  we  each  retired,  they  made  us  full  professors.  Alfred 
always  said  that  was  our  gold  watch.   [laughter] 

But  anyway,  the  title  of  "Professor"  was  an  enormous  help 
to  me  when  I  traveled  in  Japan,  because  status  is  so  important 
there.   1  could  have  a  card.   It  gave  me  an  entree  to  places  in 
Japan  that  I  wouldn't  otherwise  have  had. 

I  know  that  the  article  about  you  from  the  Mills  Quarterly  in 
1971  referred  to  you  as  "Dr.  Caldwell." 

I  never  got  a  Ph.D.,  and  I  always--!  never  claimed  to  have  that. 
It  always  was  embarrassing  to  me,  or  rather  annoying, 
because- -you  know,  people.   Sometimes  even  now  over  in  the  Asian 
Art  Museum  I'm  referred  to  that  way,  and  I  feel  it  is 
inappropriate . 

Further  Teaching  Experiences 

Riess:     After  your  retirement  from  Mills,  you  continued  to  teach  in 
other  programs? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  I  taught  at  St.  Mary's  College,  a  most  unhappy  experience, 
You  see,  St.  Mary's  has  no  academic  standards  by  which  they 
admit  their  students --anybody  can  go  there.   I  found  the 
•students  absolutely  inattentive;  to  evet<  the  raos*-  «xottc, 


pornographic,  Indian  sculpture  they  were  indifferent.  The  only 
time  in  my  life  I  couldn't  make  any  contact  with  my  students. 

Remember,  they  voluntarily  enrolled  in  the  course,  it  was 
not  a  requirement.   When  I  was  talking  about  the  history  of 
Asian  art,  starting  with  India,  and  I'd  say,  "In  order  to 
understand  this  art  we  have  to  talk  about  Buddhism."  "We  don't 
want  to  talk  about  Buddhism,  we  want  to  talk  about  Karl  Marx," 
they'd  say. 

Riess:     That  was  in  the  early  seventies? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  I  retired  from  Mills  in  1971,  and  it  might  have  been  a  year 
later.   But  they  were  almost  all  sons  and  daughters--  because  it 
was  coeducational  at  that  time- -of  wealthy  people  who  maybe  were 
not  able  to  get  into  other  institutions.   They  hadn't  much 
intellectual  focus. 

Riess:     Karl  Marx  is  intellectual. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  it  sounds  so,  doesn't  it.   I  think  that  was  just  a  way  of 
thumb-nosing  the  course  and  the  whole  idea  of  academic  study. 
It  was  just  a  manner  of  speaking.   Might  have  been  Karl  Marx  or 
anything  else,  anything  but  the  subject  under  discussion.   And 
this  was  very  hard  on  me,  because  I  felt  that  my  one  talent  was 
to  interest  people  that  knew  nothing  about  Asian  art  in  the 
subject.   It  was  a  great  personal  defeat! 

I  taught  once  in  the  summer  at  San  Francisco  State  College, 
and  I  had  something  of  the  same  problem,  but  not  so  acutely, 
insofar  as  they  did  not  screen  their  students  academically.   So 
I  had  brilliant  students  along  with  students  that  were  utterly 
hopeless.   And  I  don't  think  I  dealt  with  it  very  well,  because 
I  felt  that  in  order  to  cover  the  material  I  had  to  offer  I 
couldn't  lower  the  standards. 

By  the  way,  I  taught  a  lot  of  courses  at  Mills  to  alums, 
Mills  alumnae  groups.  Those  were  very  pleasant,  well-attended 
and  very  pleasant.   They  were  serious  and  they  read  and  they 
really  behaved  themselves!   Not  quite  as  serious  as  students 
enrolled  as  undergraduates,  of  course,  because  they  were  going 
to  be  graded  and  had  a  future  ahead  of  them,  academically.   But 
they  were  extremely  intelligent  and  responsive  people,  and 
interested  in  Asian  art. 

I  had  done  that  kind  of  thing  at  the  museums  in  San 
Francisco.  But  these  were  people,  at  Mills,  who  were  more 
serious  about  learning.   Even  though  they  had  no  examinations  to 


take,  I  could  tell  whether  they  had  done  the  reading  by  the  kind 
of  questions  that  they  asked. 

Riess:     Did  you  end  up  leading  them  on  tours  to  Asia? 

Caldwell:   No.   I  was  urged  to  do  that,  over  and  over  again.   All  kinds  of 
inducements  of  free  travel  and  so  on.   But  I  never  wanted  to  do 
that,  because  I  felt  it  was  too  fragmentary  and  disjointed.   I 
talked  to  people,  friends  of  mine,  colleagues,  who  habitually 
got  their  ride  to  China  undertaking  this  kind  of  leadership.   I 
had  no  interest  in  doing  this  at  all.   I  had  been  on  so  many 
trips  led  by  other  people  and  saw  how  heavy  the  responsibility 
for  detail  was,  and  I  just  decided  that  I  never  wanted  to  get 

Riess:     The  other  teaching  experience  was  for  the  Fromm  Institute  of 

Lifelong  Learning  at  the  University  of  San  Francisco.   How  were 
those  students? 

Caldwell:   The  Fromm  Institute  was  primarily  for  retired  persons,  hence 

senior  citizens  of  advanced  age.   That  was  a  funny  thing.   They 
were  so  excited,  when  I  first  came,  not  over  me  but  over  the 
thought  they  were  getting  a  course  in  art  history- -they  had  not 
had  one  for  a  long  time- -so  there  was  an  enormous  outpouring  of 
people.  But  they  didn't  last  very  long,  in  terms  of  numbers. 

I  understand  that  was  more  or  less  routine;  whenever  there 
was  a  new  course,  this  happened.   It  was  very,  very 
disconcerting  to  have  these  numbers  diminish.   But  the  thing  of 
it  was ,  so  many  of  them  were  hard  of  hearing  and  unable  to  focus 
for  any  length  of  time.  And  I  think  I  should  have  adapted  my 
material  more  to  the  audience,  instead  of  treating  them  as  if 
they  were  Mills  College  students. 

Research  in  Japan  on  Nara  Ehon 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know  that  I  mentioned  before  that  at  one  time  I  traveled 
widely  in  Japan  visiting  private  collections  and  photographing 
works  of  art- -all  books  of  one  kind  or  another,  either  scrolls 
or  actually  in  the  Western  sense  a  book  form- -because  I  was 
interested  in  Nara  ehon.  which  means  illustrated  books  of  Nara. 
(That  term,  Nara  ehon  was  the  invention  of  book  dealers  at  the 
turn  of  the  century.)  These  books  were  utterly  anonymous,  and 
had  extreme  variations  in  style,  unlike  Japanese  art  which  is 
pretty  much  traditional  in  various  schools  within  given  periods. 


I  got  interested  in  this  subject  because  of  the 
extraordinary  individuality  shown  among  the  many  anonymous 
artists  who  contributed.  My  greatest  contribution  was  to  a  very 
distinguished  professor  here  at  Berkeley- -actually  she's  at 
Stanford,  lives  in  Berkeley- -who  was  a  specialist  in  the 
literature  that  was  used  for  those  books.   I  was  able  to  provide 
her,  for  the  first  time,  pictures  illustrating  the  text  that  she 
had  been  studying  for  a  number  of  years . 

Riess:     Did  you  publish  on  that? 

Caldwell:  No,  I  never  published  anything  on  this  at  all,  and  that  was 

because,  while  I  had  been  encouraged  when  I  was  at  the  British 
Museum  to  go  into  this  subject  I  had  shown  such  an  interest  in, 
even  without  a  fluent  knowledge,  let's  say,  of  the  Japanese 
language,  I  discovered  in  the  course  of  time  that  I  was  really 
and  truly  encountering  a  stone  wall  not  to  know  the  language  in 
depth.   So  I  had  really  chosen  a  subject  that  was  personally 
very  defeating. 

Riess:     The  stone  wall  was  academically. 

Caldwell:  Not  really.   1  had  been  told,  or  encouraged  at  the  British 

Museum,  that  since  these  were  all  anonymous  and  you  couldn't 
ever  even  date  the  books  from  the  point  of  view  of  calligraphic 
styles,  because  they  in  turn  were  just  traditionally  copied, 
that  it  wasn't  necessary  to  know  the  language.   But  I 
discovered,  after  dealing  with  these  extraordinarily  varied 
books ,  that  not  to  be  able  to  read  the  text  and  be  sure  you  were 
getting  every  detail  represented  in  the  illustrations  was 
frustrating.   So  I  gave  up  any  thought  of  publication. 

Among  other  things,  the  subject  itself  was  scorned  at  first 
by  my  academic  friends:  "How  can  you  be  interested  in  such  an 
insignificant  part  of  Japanese  art?"  But  then  Barbara  Ruch,  a 
woman  at  Columbia  University  in  Japanese  literature, 
"discovered,"  so  to  speak,  the  illustrations  to  the  literature 
she  had  been  talking  about  for  so  many  years .   She  then  made  the 
subject  of  these  illustrated  books  a  matter  of  prime  interest. 
There  was  an  international  symposium  in  New  York  City  some  years 
ago,  and  the  only  illustrations  that  they  had  for  this 
conference  were  my  illustrations,  that  I  had  photographed  in 
museums  and  private  collections  in  Japan. 










I  saw  this  subject,  which  had  been  down-played  for  so  many 
years  by  my  academic  friends,  raised  to  the  most  important 
research  subject  of  the  time.   It  was  very  amusing. 

Any  appropriate  footnotes? 

[laughs]  Professor  [John  Max]  Rosenfield  of  Harvard,  who  chaired 
the  meeting,  said  I  was  "the  grandmother"  of  this  whole  subject. 
But  that  was  not  exactly  a  remark  that  I  felt  was  laudatory. 

By  your  "academic  friends,"  who  do  you  mean? 
to  know  the  people  in  your  field? 

Where  did  you  get 

Well,  I  suppose  because  of  symposia  and  invited  lecturers.  When 
you  become  very  involved  very  seriously  in  any  field- -I'm  sure 
you  know  that  in  librarianship- -you  get  to  know  everybody.   I 
attended  many,  many  symposia,  in  New  York,  in  Cleveland,  in 
Chicago,  and  so  on.   Everybody  knows  everybody  else.   I  didn't 
measure  up  to  them,  I  never  had  a  Ph.D.  and  had  not  done  any 
publication.  But  they  nevertheless  tolerated  me,  to  a  certain 

How  did  you  get  onto  the  Nara  ehon? 

I  was  always  interested  in  any  evidences  in  Japanese  art  of 
individuality,  other  than  in  certain  periods  where  there  are 
very  great  artists.   The  Momoyama  Period  for  example,  where 
there  were  great  artists  who  were  highly  individualistic.   But 
as  a  kind  of  folk  movement,  as  a  kind  of  people's  art,  there 
seemed  to  be  much  more  conformity  and  much  less  individuality. 

There  was  an  exhibition  in  Tokyo  of  these  particular 
artists  I  got  interested  in,  these  anonymous  people.   I  got  hold 
of  the  catalogue  and  I  went  and  visited  the  collections  and  met 
the  people  in  Japan  who  had  collected  these  works  of  art.  And 
this  was  before  it  was  popular:  "Oh,  what  is  she  doing  this 
for?"  you  know. 

When  did  you  discover  this  work? 

Well,  it  was  after  my  husband  died.   He  died  in  1965,  and  I  then 
did  a  great  deal  of  traveling.   So  it  was  probably  in  the 
seventies . 

Did  you  find  that  doors  were  open  to  you? 

Yes,  I  did.  At  that  time  they  were  extremely  cordial  to 
Westerners,  and  even  to  a  Western  woman.   A  Japanese  woman 


wouldn't  have  gotten  to  first  base, 
open  to  my  inquiries. 

But  they  were  very,  very 

Of  course,  you  always  went  with  gifts.  And  I  had,  of 
course,  to  take  an  interpreter  with  me.   I  found  an  interpreter 
through  the  university  at  Kyoto,  a  student  I  would  hire.  And 
that's  how  I  happened  to  do  it. 

Riess;     Do  you  have  a  manner  that  you  adopt  when  you  are  dealing  with 
the  Japanese? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  I'm  sure  I  was  very  inept.   I  don't  think  any  Westerner, 

unless  perhaps  they  had  become  residents  of  Japan  for  a  quarter 
century,  could  ever  begin  to  measure  up  to  what's  expected  in 
courtesy  in  Japan.   It's  just  hopeless.  And  they  put  on  such  a 
polite  front  that  you're  not  aware  of  all  of  the  terrible  gaffes 
that  you  are  making. 

I  do  know  that  the  gift-giving  is  absolutely  essential,  and 
I  remember  dropping  and  smashing  on  the  doorstep  of  a  house  in 
one  of  these  remote  villages  a  most  marvelous  bottle  of  Scotch 
whiskey  that  I  had  brought.   I  was  always  very  nervous  going  to 
these  places.   In  retrospect  I  feel  I  didn't  fulfill  their 
expectations  in  terms  of  etiquette,  but  I  did  the  best  I  could. 

Riess:     Is  there  any  more  on  your  work  in  Asian  art  scholarship  that  we 
have  not  discussed? 

Caldwell:   I've  probably  said  before  that  the  reason  I  went  to  Asia  as 

often  as  I  did  after  my  husband's  death  was,  first  of  all,  he 
and  I  traveled  a  great  deal  in  Europe,  particularly  in  London, 
and  I  wanted  to  go  places  where  we  had  never  been,  and  not 
remember  those  companionable  days.   The  other  thing  was,  of 
course,  he  had  not  had  any  interest  in  Asia  whatever.   So  just 
immersing  myself  in  Asia  served  two  purposes. 

Continuing  Professional  Relationships 

Riess:     Have  you  what  you  would  call  proteges  among  your  students  at 

Caldwell:   I  have  a  number  of  former  students  from  whom  I  hear  from  time  to 
time  about  how  much  the  opening  up  of  the  field  of  Asian  art  had 
meant  to  them,  when  they'd  travel  and  see  these  works  of  art  in 
the  flesh,  so  to  speak,  that  they  had  only  seen  in  terms  of 


lantern  slides.   Even  now,  after  all  these  years  of  retirement, 
I  quite  often  get  some  kind  of  reassurance  of  that  kind. 

I  have  one  student  who  is  very,  very  accomplished  in  the 
field  of  Chinese  studies  who  started  at  Mills  with  me.  But  it 
is  a  pretty  highly  specialized  field  to  go  into  in  any 
university.  And  in  small  Mills  College,  which  emphasized 
general  culture,  it  was  particularly  unusual  to  find  anybody 
continuing  in  the  field. 

I  think  that  through  Mills  College,  which  gave  a  certain 
status  to  the  teaching  of  the  subject  of  Asian  art,  I  was  able 
to  exert  an  influence  in  the  Asian  Art  Museum  in  San  Francisco. 
I  always  felt  that  it  was  important  for  Mills  to  have  contacts 
with  the  larger  cultural  world  of  San  Francisco.   So  while  I  was 
teaching  there  I  also  kept  up  my  contacts  with  the  museum,  and 
therefore  also  Mills 's  contacts  with  the  museum,  which  has 
proved  to  be  a  very  fine  relationship  with  the  woman  who  is 
teaching  Asian  art  there  now,  Mary-Ann  Lutzker.   She  is  doing  an 
excellent  job  of  making  a  liaison  between  Mills  and  the  museum. 
Her  specialty  is  East  Indian  art.   She  is  one  of  their  [Asian 
Art  Museum]  most  valued  decent  teachers. 

Katherine  Caldwell,  Professor  of  Art,  Mills  College, 
circa  1960. 

Photograph  courtesy  of  Mills  College 



The  Germ  of  an  Idea.  1958 

Caldwell:   Now,  the  Brundage  collection,  let  me  tell  you  how  it  all 

started.   I  was  very  much  distressed,  as  was  Salmony,  by  the 
fact  that  well-intentioned  San  Francisco  collectors  had  no 
background  for  judging  what  to  buy,  and  that  we  had  no 
collections  of  any  importance  in  Asian  art  in  the  Bay  Area.   At 
the  same  time,  we  loftily  called  ourselves  the  Gateway  to  the 
Orient.   We  had  Chinatown,  we  had  Gump's--and  that's  another 
story:  Gump's  often  times  had  beautiful  works  of  art,  but  they 
also  had  many  things  that  were  not  of  quality.   In  any  case,  the 
point  of  it  was  we  had  no  great  works  of  Asian  art. 

I  had  gotten  my  degree  at  Harvard  where  I  had  worked,  in 
connection  with  my  classes,  in  the  Boston  Museum  of  Fine  Arts, 
and  had  learned  what  great  works  of  art  of  Asia  were  like.   And 
as  1  have  told  you,  in  1958  I  took  my  one  long  trip  away  from  my 
home,  and  went  for  two  months  to  Asia  alone.   I  had  letters  to 
all  sorts  of  people,  and  I  went  to  a  number  of  countries,  India, 
Thailand,  Cambodia,  Hong  Kong,  and  especially  Japan. 

On  the  way  home,  I  stopped  at  Honolulu—I  told  you  this. 
And  there  I  stopped  over  to  see  the  then-director  of  that 
remarkable  museum  of  Asian  art,  Bob  [Robert]  Griff ing.   I  really 
stopped  over,  in  addition  to  seeing  their  beautiful  collections 
of  Japanese  and  Chinese  paintings,  to  have  a  chance  to  reinforce 
our  friendship.  And  over  lunch  or  dinner  I  bemoaned  the  fact 
that,  "Bob,  I  won't  see  any  first-rate  Asian  art  until  I  travel 
again,  I've  got  to  go  back  to  that  Asian- art  bereft  city  of  San 
Francisco. " 

"Well,"  he  said,  "why  on  earth  don't  you  get  the  Brundage 
collection?  It's  up  for  grabs,  every  city  wants  it,  and  Mr. 


Brundage  has  been  very  disgruntled.  He's  broken  his  ties  with 
the  Chicago  Art  Institute,  where  his  things  have  been  kept.   Why 
don't  you  go  back  and  start  an  organization  to  acquire  the 
Brundage  collection  for  San  Francisco?" 

He  said,  "There's  going  to  be  a  United  Nations  conference 
in  San  Francisco  next  year,  and  I'll  be  there,  and  I'll  come  and 
give  you  a  lift." 

A  Lunch  Meeting 

Caldwell:  Veil,  so  I  came  home,  and  was  of  course  enormously  impressed 

with  this  idea,  and  followed  a  custom  that  my  husband  and  I  had 
had  of,  if  we'd  been  absent  for  some  time  from  the  Bay  Area, 
getting  together  with  our  dear  friends  the  Erskines,  Dorothy  and 
Morse  Erskine.   The  four  of  us  went  over  to  Mt.  Tamalpais, 
stayed  overnight,  and  had  lovely,  long  conversations  at 
breakfast,  lunch,  and  dinner. 

Again  I,  so  to  speak,  wept  on  Dorothy's  shoulder,  in  the 
same  way  I  had  to  Griff ing,  about  the  lack  of  an  Oriental  art 
collection  in  San  Francisco.   She  said,  "Oh,  Kay,"  in  her 
beautiful  voice,  "why,  that's  something  we  must  do  something 
about."   (Dorothy  didn't  know  about  Oriental  art,  though  she  had 
great  taste  and  some  beautiful  things.   She,  however,  was  a 
catalyst,  and  she  always  got  people  together  that  she  felt  could 
help  one  another.) 

She  said,  "I'll  arrange  a  lunch.  You  must  not  let  this 
opportunity  go  by.   I'll  arrange  a  lunch,  and  I  will  invite  to 
it  some  very  powerful  women  in  San  Francisco,  and  you  must  tell 
them  about  the  importance  of  getting  the  Brundage  collection." 
Which  she  did.   And  at  the  lunch  were  Marjorie  Stern,  Alice 
Kent,  and  there's  one  person  whose  name  I  must  provide  for 
you- -I  can't  think  of  it  right  now- -who  was  really  a  resident  of 
Portland  but  living  in  San  Francisco.   These  are  the  people  who 
came  to  the  luncheon. 

At  the  luncheon  I  spoke  passionately  about  the  need  to  get 
the  Brundage  collection  for  San  Francisco.   They  were  aware  of 
it,  and  this  is  one  thing,  in  retrospect- -how  shall  I  put  it?-- 
sometimes  when  people  are  involved  later  on  in  an  organization, 
they  forget  when  their  interest  began.  And  they  had  known  of 
the  existence  of  the  Brundage  collection,  but  had  not  had  any 
particular  impulse  to  do  anything  about  it. 


But  at  this  luncheon,  in  any  case,  I  told  them  about  its 
importance,  and  then  and  there  we  decided  to  form  an 
organization  to  try  to  get  the  Brundage  collection.  The  actual 
organization  took  place  at  the  home  of  Marjorie  Stern.   And  this 
is  where- -if  the  question  is,  who  started  the  Society  for  Asian 
Art- -you  see? 

I've  always  said  it  was  my  idea,  but  it  would  never  have 
been  implemented  without  these  powerful  women.   So  it  was  a  nice 
balance  of  talents  or  whatever,  associations,  whatever  you 
want- -of  backgrounds.  Never  in  the  world  as  a  college 
professor,  or  as  a  Berkeley  academic  wife,  could  I  have  moved 
the  city  of  San  Francisco  to  do  anything  about  getting  the 
Brundage  collection.   These  women  knew  their  way  around  city 
hall  and  were  wonderfully,  wonderfully  effective. 

Selling  the  Bond  Issue 

Caldwell:   But  that's  the  way  it  all  started.  And  then  the  question  was, 
Mr.  Brundage,  like  so  many  self-made  men,  wanted  something  in 
return  for  his  money.   If  he  were  going  to  give  this  collection 
to  San  Francisco,  he  wanted  them  then  to  build  a  wing  for  it, 
paid  for  by  the  taxpayers,  not  by  Mr.  Brundage.   And  that  meant 
a  bond  issue,  and  this  is  where  our  effectiveness  was  shown. 

I  don't  mean  to  say  there  weren't- -after  all,  a  public 
relations  organization  was  hired  also.   There  was  a  great  deal 
of  paid,  Madison  Avenue-type  publicity  for  this,  and  promotion. 
However,  what  we  did  was  to  go  to  organizations,  like  the 
[International]  Ladies  Garment  Workers  [Union],  and  people--. 
You  see,  we  had  to  reach  people  who  had  no  background  in  Asian 
art,  and  who  nevertheless  were  being  asked  to  have  their  taxes 
increased  in  order  to  acquire  this  collection. 

How  on  earth  could  we  reach  hairdressers  and  taxicab 
drivers  and  whatnot?  Not  to  put  them  down,  but  simply  their 
background  did  not  include  anything  about  Asia. 

Riess:     And  how  did  you  make  that  connection? 

Caldwell:   Well,  I  remember  going  to  the  International  Ladies  Garment 

Workers  Union  with  slides  and  a  projection  machine,  and  showing 
works  of  art  from  the  Brundage  collection,  and  then  asking  if 
they'd  like  to  ask  questions  about  the  works  shown. 


I'll  never  forget,  the  one  question  that  was  always  asked 
was  why  are  the  Buddha's  ears  always  long?  And  this  is  so  easy 
to  answer,  because  when  he  was  in  his  pre -Buddhist  life  he  had 
worn  as  a  young  prince  heavy  jewelry,  and  the  heavy  earrings  had 
pulled  his  ears  down.  When  he  renounced  all  of  his  worldly 
life,  he  took  off  all  his  jewelry,  but  the  ears  remained 
elongated.   It  was  such  an  easy  thing  to  satisfy  questions  of 
that  kind  with  the  tradition.  Of  course,  this  is  all  you  might 
say  myth,  but  that's  the  tradition  of  how  this  happened. 

So,  we  went  to  many,  many  organizations  to  sell  the  idea  of 
acquiring  this  collection,  and  to  emphasize  its  distinction  and 
beauty.   Very  difficult  on  the  beauty  side  for  people  who  were 
raised  in  the  Christian  tradition  of  art,  of  course,  or  just  the 
tradition  of  Western  realism,  representationalism. 

Riess:     Did  you  feel  that  you  had  to  overcome  some  racism  also? 

Caldwell:   I  had  no  feeling  about  that  at  all,  no.   That  never  entered  my 

But  this  is  what  we  did,  and  then  we  had  somebody  in  the 
organization- -this  is  not  my  brain  wave  at  all --somebody  in  our 
organization  had  the  idea  of  having  fortune  cookies  made  with  a 
little  "VOTE  FOR  THE  BRUNDAGE  COLLECTION"  in  it  when  you  opened 
it  up,  all  sorts  of  gimmicks  of  this  kind. 

Riess:     Did  you  have  strong  support  from  the  Chinatown  residents? 

Caldwell:  You'd  expect  them  to  be  supportive,  but  no,  the  Chinese  have 

only  more  recently  become  interested  in  their  own  culture.   In 
fact,  we  had  one  last  year  who  was  the  president  of  our  society. 
The  recruitment  of  help  from  the  Chinese  community  came  late. 
Now  it's  enthusiastic,  and  much  later,  long  after  the 
acquisition  of  the  Brundage  collection,  there  is  a  society  just 
for  Chinese  art  in  San  Francisco.  These  people  now  take  pride 
in  their  traditions. 

Riess:     And  how  about  recruiting  the  Japanese  community? 

Caldwell:   There  are  a  few  Japanese  women  who  are  strong  workers  in  the 
Society  for  Asian  Art  at  the  present  time,  but  they  have  not 
been  as  prominent- -numerous,  let's  say.   The  ones  that  have 
worked  are  superb,  but  they  haven't  been  as  numerous  as  the 

Riess:     But  in  the  original  group  of  women? 
Caldwell:  There  were  no  Asians  at  all.  None  at  all. 


Riess:     Were  there  any  Asian  curators  at  the  de  Young  at  that  time? 

Caldvell:   No.   None  at  all.   There  are  several  now,  in  the  Asian  Art 
Museum,  but  not  at  that  time. 

Riess:     I'm  trying  to  take  the  pulse  of  that  time. 

I  can  very  well  picture  you  doing  the  slide  show  for  the 
garment  workers,  but  did  Mrs.  Stern  and  Mrs.  Kent  also  do  that 
kind  of  thing? 

Caldwell:   Well,  they  were  great  fund-raisers,  you  see,  and  they  also  were 
very  much  in  touch  with  the  bureaucracy  of  city  hall,  trying  to 
get  the  mayor  and  other  high  officials  in  San  Francisco  city 
government  on  our  side.  Their  function  was  largely  persuasion 
of  people  at  a  higher  level.   I  was  working  with  the  hoi  polloi. 

Riess:     Was  anyone  else  working  with  the  hoi  polloi? 
Caldwell:   I  don't  remember  anybody  doing  that. 

Dorothy  and  Morse  Erskine 

Riess:     Did  Dorothy  Erskine  stay  with  it? 

Caldwell:   She  did  not  work  on  it.  No,  she  had  done  her  part.  You  see, 
Dorothy  believes,  as  does  my  wonderful  Save  the  Bay  friend 
across  the  street,  Sylvia  McLaughlin,  that  in  order  to  get 
anything  done  in  this  world,  you  have  to  stick  to  one  topic.   I 
remember  once  saying  to  Dorothy,  "Dorothy,  I  don't  hear  you 
express  any  dismay  about  our  incarceration  of  Japanese  citizens 
during  the  Second  World  War." 

"Oh,"  she  said,  "Kay,  of  course  I  care,  but  I  have  to  focus 
on  the  environmental  problems  of  the  Bay  Area."   So  that 
explains  her  not  being  involved.   She  would,  of  course,  support 
--I  should  probably  say  financially --our  organization,  but  she 
wasn't  a  street  worker  on  it,  so  to  speak. 

Riess:     Tell  me  about  the  friendship  with  Dorothy  and  Morse  Erskine. 

Caldwell:   My  mother  and  stepfather  knew  them,  and  then  Jim  and  I  became 

just  as  close  in  friendship  as  Mother  and  Pops  had.  We  used  to 
see  them  on  our  own,  apart  from  my  parents. 


They  were  more  your  contemporaries? 


Caldwell:  Well,  they  were  sort  of  in  between.   They're  a  little  bit  older. 
Dorothy  I  think  maybe  was  just  under  a  decade  my  senior, 
something  like  that.   But  that  didn't  seem  to  make  any 
difference . 

Just  as  a  footnote,  after  my  husband  died  they  invited  me 
every  month  for  a  whole  year  up  to  Calistoga  to  their  country 
retreat.   It  was  a  really  caring  kind  of  friendship. 

Riess:     And  what  was  Horse  Erskine? 

Caldwell:   A  lawyer.   He  was  of  course  very  supportive  of  Dorothy's 

interests,  but  she  was  the  one  who  was  really  the  mover  and 
shaker  when  it  came  to  these  organizations  that  she  espoused.   I 
would  suppose  there's  never  been  anyone  more  effective  than  she 

Dorothy  Erskine  had  a  great  love  of  beauty.   She  had 
nothing  in  her  house  that  wasn't  beautiful,  whether  it  was  an 
electric  light  fixture—my  stepfather  was  the  same 
way- -everything  was  beautiful  in  her  house.   She  had  the 
ability,  which  I  have  never  learned,  to  throw  away  things  that 
you  are  not  using. 

Riess:     Did  you  go  to  the  homes  of  Mrs.  Stern  and  Mrs.  Kent? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes.  We  met  in  private  homes.  That's  another  thing:  all 

our  meetings  took  place  in  private  homes.  And  at  that  time- -the 
situation  has  changed  spectacularly  for  the  better  —  at  that  time 
these  people  had  no  academic  training,  Mrs.  Stern,  and 
eventually  Marjorie--now  Seller,  but  she  was  then  Bissinger. 
She,  by  the  way,  was  not  in  that  initial  luncheon  group,  but 
later,  not  too  much  later,  Marjorie  then-Bissinger ,  now- Seller, 
came  into  the  organization  and  was  enormously  helpful. 

Riess:     Was  she  better  trained? 

Caldwell:   No.  Well,  she  had  actually  acquired  some  Chinese  works  of  art 
of  quality,  and  she  was  very  active  and  an  effective  promoter. 

The  Purpose  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art 

Caldwell:   When  we  had  our  first  meeting,  and  later  on,  I  was  so  eager  that 
the  organization  should  not  become  what  I  called  a  flower 
arrangement  organization,  a  superficial  travelogue  type  of 
lecture  given,  that  we  should  have,  like  the  Oriental  Ceramic 


Society  of  London,  a  wonderful  organization  of  dedicated,  not 
scholars,  but  collectors  of  great  knowledge  who  would  meet 
together  and  show  their  respective  collections  to  one  another. 

I  wasn't  thinking  in  terns  at  that  time  that  we  were  going 
to  necessarily  have  sessions  of  exhibiting  our  private  works, 
because  there  were  not  enough  around  to  show,  but  the  idea  was 
that  we  would  have  a  lecture  program  to  inform  the  public.  The 
important  mission  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art  is  to  educate  the 
public  in  Asian  art. 

The  attitude  here -to -fore  toward  Asian  art  had  been  purely 
decorative,  almost  a  temporary  effect  in  your  home.  However,  I 
had  been  in  London  for  quite  a  bit  and  had  known  the  scholars  of 
England  and  the  people  engaged  in  all  sorts  of  professions  that 
had  nothing  to  do  with  Asian  art.   But  nevertheless,  the  kind  of 
training  they  have  in  the  educational  system  in  England  seems  to 
encourage  continuing  education  after  your  degree.  They  have  a 
deep  desire  for  the  knowledge. 

So  there  are  a  number  of  people  in  England  who  have  fine 
collections  of  Asian  art.  They  weren't  scholars,  but  very  well 
informed.   And  they  had  formed  the  Oriental  Ceramic  Society,  as 
I  mentioned  before,  with  the  view  of  excellence:  "How  can  we 
find  works  of  art  that  we  can  buy  or  look  at  in  museums  that  are 
of  the  finest  quality  of  their  period?" 

And  this  was  my  mission  in  starting  the  Society  for  Asian 
Art.   Let's  not  make  it  a  lecture  system,  educating  the  public 
superficially.   Let's  really  make  it  scholarly,  not  dully 
scholarly,  not  heavy,  but  to  give  people  an  idea  of  what  really 
are  the  finest  products  that  Asia  has  produced  in  various  media. 
And  I  just  preached  this  over  and  over  and  over. 

My  husband  also  became  very  much  interested  in  the  society, 
and  he  helped  a  great  deal  on  phrasing  some  of  their  literature 
and  handouts.   They  were  very  fond  of  Jim,  liked  having  him 

Rene-Yvon  Lefebvre  d'Areenc^ 

Riess:     What  other  academics  were  important? 

Caldwell:   Not  any  at  that  time.   That  came  later.   Remember,  this  was 
before  the  University  of  California  had  James  Cahill.   And 
d'Argence\  who  was  the  first  curator  at  the  Asian  Art  Museum, 



was  not  part  of  our  group.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  we  had  some 
problems  with  him  in  terms  of  hostility. 

You  invited  him? 

Caldwell:   Well,  he  came  to  some  of  our  small  meetings,  yes.   But  we  always 
had  disagreements  about  how  to- -what  to  buy  and  what  to  use 
available  purchase  money  for. 

For  example --this  all  occurred  in  1958,  by  the  way- -once 
the  Brundage  collection  was  installed,  there  was  an 
international  symposium  on  the  collection,  with  scholars  from 
all  over  the  world  of  very  high  quality.  And  of  course, 
d'Argenc^  was  very  vocal  on  that,  as  curator. 

After  we  had  this  symposium  we  had  a  surplus  of  maybe- -it 
doesn't  sound  like  much  money  now,  $20,000,  but  then  it  did.   I 
think  the  surplus  represented  a  surplus  which  was  left  over  from 
the  money  that  was  appropriated  for  the  symposium.   And  I'm  not 
sure  how  that  money  was  raised. 

I  must  say  another  thing,  that  we  in  the  Society  for  Asian 
Art  made  a  great  point  of  befriending  Mr.  Brundage.   We 
entertained  Mr.  Brundage.   And  he  was  extremely  nice  to  women, 
and  he  was  very  rude  to  men.  One  of  the  reasons  we  had  such  a 
hard  time  getting  a  director  for  the  Asian  Art  Museum  was 
because  Mr.  Brundage  alienated,  by  his  rudeness,  so  many  men. 

He  also  had  a  strong  anti-Jewish  prejudice,  so  that  no  Jew 
would  he  accept.   And  why,  you  might  say,  would  we  have  to  defer 
to  him?  Well,  it  was  just  part  of  our  desire  to  show 
appreciation  of  his  gift,  and  to  exert  what  influence  we  could 
in  the  choice  of  a  curator  for  the  Asian  Art  Museum. 

Riess:     You  said  that  d'Argence  was  distressed  because  of  your  purchases 
from  that  $20,000? 

Caldwell:   I  didn't  complete  the  thought  there.   We  had  an  advisory  group 
then,  and  on  the  advisory  group  were  people  who  were  in  the 
academic  world  like  Cahill  and  [Michael]  Sullivan,  and  me,  and 
then  a  few  society  women,  the  society  women  that  had  worked  very 
hard.   And  an  example  of  a  problem  we  had  with  d'Argenc6--you 
know,  eventually  he  left  under  quite  a  cloud- -we  would  say, 
"We're  short  on  Chinese  painting,  why  not  get  a  Chinese 

He'd  say,  "Oh,  no,  I  need  a  computer  machine,"  or  something 
similar.  We  were  trying  to  use  the  money  for  art,  he  wanted  to 
use  it  for  office  equipment.  The  scholars  in  these  meetings 


that  were  charged  with  determining  the  use  of  the  surplus  funds 
all  wanted  to  put  the  money  into  art,  and  he  wanted  to  put  It 
into  office  equipment.  And  we  had  terrible  clashes.  They  sound 
petty,  but  they  were  violent,  and  vital  to  those  of  us  that 
wanted  to  see  the  collection  increase. 

Riess:     When  you  bought  a  Chinese  painting,  it  would  be  put  into  the 
Brundage  collection? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  yes. 

Riess:  And  it  would  be  called  part  of  the  Brundage  collection? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  it  would  be. 

Riess:  Did  Brundage  have  to  approve  selections  that  you  made? 

Caldwell:   Interestingly  enough,  I  don't  think  he  did.   However,  there  was 
another  problem  when  it  came  to  Japanese  art. 

But  to  complete  that  thought,  d'Argenc^  then  developed 
hostility  toward  all  of  us  who  were  in  the  academic  world,  even 
wouldn't  let  us  have  access  easily  to  the  collections  that  were 
in  storage.   We  had  a  very  hard  time  with  him. 

He  [d'Argence]  was  originally  a  professor  at  the  University 
of  California.   He  was  very  much  disliked,  and  he  spent  a  great 
deal  of  his  time  traveling  with  Mr.  Brundage,  but  prior  to  the 
acquisition  of  the  collection.   If  Mr.  Brundage  would  say, 
"Come,  I  want  you  to  go  to  Switzerland,  there's  an  auction,"  and 
so  on,  d'Argence  would  leave  his  UC  Berkeley  classes  and  go. 
(Incidentally,  d'Argence,  as  a  European,  knew  how  to  handle  Mr. 
Brundage,  and  could  take  his  hostility  to  men  and  deal  with  it.) 

But  d'Argence  then  saw  the  writing  on  the  wall  that  he  was 
not  going  to  be  kept  at  UC  Berkeley.   And  Jim  Cahill  then 
succeeded  him.   I'm  not  quite  sure  of  the  order  of  the  events, 
but  in  any  case,  by  the  time  this  money  was  available  after  the 
symposium,  Cahill  was  here  and  on  this  committee. 

Riess:     If  d'Argence  had  been  a  long-standing  friend  of  Brundage' s,  can 
we  say  that  d'Argence  was  important  in  getting  the  collection? 

Caldwell:   Oh,  yes,  absolutely.   No  doubt  about  that. 

There's  just  one  other  amusing  incident,  an  intimate 
exchange  I  had  with  d'Argence.   We,  all  of  us,  the  scholarly 
people,  wanted  catalogues  for  the  different  civilizations --the 
Cambodian,  the  Chinese,  the  Japanese --printed  as  soon  as 


possible  for  the  information  for  the  public.  We  were  all 
interested  in  making  this  collection  available  to  the  public. 

Another  possible  use  of  the  money,  if  you  weren't  going  to 
spend  it  on  painting,  was  to  get  specialized  people,  not  in 
d'Argence's  specialty,  to  come  and  edit  these  catalogues.   And 
d'Argenc£  said  to  me,  "Rather ine,  Mr.  Brundage  has  said  1  am  the 
only  one  who  can  edit  the  catalogues."   "Well,"  I  said- -and  he 
never  forgave  me  for  my  reply- -"then  you  must  believe  in 
reincarnation,  Yvon,  because  nobody  could  do  all  of  that  in  one 
lifetime."   [laughs] 

I  thought  these  little  personal  things  might  be  of 
interest.   I  don't  know.   Are  they  too  petty? 

Riess:     No,  they're  not  too  petty.   Did  all  of  this  happen  in  1958? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  no.   I've  forgotten  which  month  the  symposium  took  place. 
This  was  ongoing  for  the  year  or  so  afterward,  1  would  say. 

Riess:     What  was  the  purpose  of  the  symposium? 

Caldwell:   Well,  it  was  to  publicize  and  make  known  to  the  public  what  was 
there.   It  was  a  huge  international  affair.   Funds  were  raised 
to  bring  scholars  who  couldn't  afford  it  from  Japan  and  China 
and  Korea ,  everywhere . 

Riess:     There  are  stories  of  the  machinations  of  Brundage,  toying  with 
people,  later  issues  of  money  and  getting  the  rest  of  the 
collection,  and  paying  for  purchases.  Did  you  have  a  part  in 
any  of  this? 

Caldwell:  No.   I  knew  Brundage  quite  well,  but  not  more  than  socially.  He 
was  very  anxious  to  get  a  tax  write-off,  you  see,  for  giving  his 
collection,  and  he  once  approached  me  about  making  some  kind  of 
a  statement,  as  a  Mills  College  functionary,  to  further  that 

The  Decent  Program 

Riess:     What  more  did  you  do,  how  were  you  involved,  after  the  success 
of  acquiring  the  collection? 

Caldwell:  Oh,  then  the  idea  was  to  organize  what  became  this  remarkably 
successful  decent  program.   We  had  two  functions:  one  was  to 
have  lectures,  which  usually  occurred  once  a  month. 



Cal dwell: 






The  Society  sponsored  lectures? 

Oh,  yes.   The  Asian  Art  Museum  and  the  Society  for  Asian  Art  are 
two  separate  entities.  The  Asian  Art  Museum  is  funded  by  the 
City  of  San  Francisco.  The  Society  for  Asian  Art  is  entirely  a 
private,  voluntary  organization,  that  has  one  little  dark  room 
for  an  office  in  the  building. 

But  the  thing  of  it  is  that  our  efforts  to  get  the  Brundage 
collection,  the  Society,  all  of  this  existed  before  they  had 
found  a  director  and  set  up  the  mechanism  of  the  Asian  Art 
Museum,  which  is  a  city- funded  organization.   Our  efforts 
preceded  the  formal  finding  of  a  director,  and  setting  up  the 
bureaucratic  function  for  running  the  museum. 

The  women  who  raised  the  funds  were  raising  funds  to  house  the 

Yes,  and  the  funds  were  raised  by  a  bond  issue.   That  is  the 
money  that  paid  for  the  wing  for  the  Asian  Art  Museum. 

Were  there  men  in  the  early  days  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art? 

Yes.   The  husbands  were  all  involved,  they  all  came  to  these 
meetings  held  in  private  houses.   For  a  couple  of  years,  I 
think- -I'd  have  to  check  that- -we  met  in  private  houses,  and  set 
up  our  priorities.   We  felt  once  the  collection  had  been 
acquired,  the  next  thing  was  to  make  it  available  to  the 
citizens  of  San  Francisco,  so  they'd  know  something  about  it. 

And  that's  where  I  feel  that  our  function  was  so  important, 
because  it  wasn't  just  supposed  to  be  confined  to  the  elite,  but 
to  reach  out  to  the  schools  and  to  the  public  at  large.  The  way 
to  do  that,  of  course,  was  to  establish  the  decent  program,  and 
so  we  started  that.   Again,  just  as  I  had  urged  that  the  quality 
of  the  lectures  be  serious  and  specialized,  so  we  felt  that  the 
people  teaching  the  docents,  preparing  the  docents ,  should  be 
people  of  quality,  academic  quality.   So  those  were  our 
contributions,  I  think,  to  the  education  of  San  Francisco. 

Was  there  a  docent  program  already  in  place  in  other  collections 
in  the  de  Young? 

I  don't  think  so.   I  may  be  wrong,  but  I  think  that  came  after. 
We  have  to  check  that  to  be  sure. 

Setting  up  the  docent  program,  who  really  set  that  up? 


Caldwell:  Actually,  many  of  these  women  who  had  previously  not  known  about 
Asian  art  were  themselves  acquiring  libraries  and  studying,  so 
that  the  function  of  any  academic  was  rather  an  educative  one. 
I  mean  to  say,  we  didn't  go  in  for  the  bureaucracy  of  the  thing. 

They  set  up  an  advisory  board,  at  first  entirely- -well,  it 
still  is,  with  one  exception- -composed  of  people  in  the  academic 
world.   This  was  the  advisory  group,  the  one  on  which  I  still 
serve.  And  that's  where  the  scholars  came  in,  in  terms  of 
helping  to  set  policy. 

Riess:     Did  they  teach  in  the  docent  program  also? 

Caldwell:   Yes.   And  some  of  them  for  a  while  were  graduate  students  from 
the  University  of  California. 

Riess:     They  were  paid  to  do  this? 

Caldwell:   When  they  eventually  got  people  of  the  status  of  Cahill  and 

Sullivan,  I  think  that  they  paid  them.   In  my  own  experience,  I 
was  paid  for  individual  lectures  from  time  to  time.   But  of 
course,  these  society  women  all  donated  their  time. 

At  first  the  docent  program  was  a  very  small  undertaking. 
I,  at  the  beginning,  had  charge  of  the  Japanese  art,  and  yes,  I 
was  paid  a  small  sum.   Now  the  teachers,  the  professors,  are 
paid.   And  of  course,  many  of  the  lectures  in  the  docent  program 
are  given  by  the  curators  of  the  museum,  who  are  of  course  on 
the  city  budget. 

Riess:  It's  probably  the  most  scholarly  docent  program  I've  heard  of. 

Caldwell:  Yes,  I  think  it  is. 

Riess:  People  can  take  the  classes  and  not  become  docents? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  anybody  can  come  if  they  pay  a  fee.   That's  perfectly  true. 

It  interested  me  very  much  that  in  the  beginning  the 
society  ladies,  so  to  speak,  would  not  introduce  a  speaker, 
because  they  felt  they  didn't  know  enough.  We  would  always  be 
the  ones  to  introduce  whoever  was  going  to  speak.   Now,  for 
several  years,  they  have  studied  so  much  themselves,  and  they're 
so  confident  in  public  speaking,  which  they  were  not  originally, 
that  they  take  over  all  of  that  function.   They  are  completely 
competent  to  get  the  scholarly  material  together  on  the 
speaker's  background.   I  am  much  impressed  with  that,  and  very, 
very  admiring. 



Riess : 







At  the  sane  time  that  they  were  becoming  so  expert,  they  were 
probably  also  becoming  collectors? 


Has  there  been  a  boom  in  collecting  in  San  Francisco? 

I  would  ask  Pat  Berger,  one  of  the  curators,  for  facts  on  that. 
I  wouldn't  know  how  much  would  be  a  boom.   There  aren't,  after 
all- -I  mean,  works  of  art  of  the  quality  we  want  are  an  enormous 
price,  so  you  couldn't  have  a  really  popular  group  of 
collectors.  That  wouldn't  have  been  possible. 

The  Adrian  Gruhn  CourtRoom  and  the  Cyril  Magnin  Room,  what  do 
they  represent? 

Well,  we  were  just  awfully  glad  to  have  people  donate  money. 

Did  you  solicit  money  or  gifts? 

No,  I  did  no  fundraising  or  soliciting. 

Mrs.  Adrian  Gruhn,  for  instance,  was  she  a  board  member? 

She  might  have  been  a  board  member. 

Jan  Fontein.  and  the  Asian  Art  Museum  Directorship 

Caldwell:  You  have  to  make  a  distinction  between  the  Society  for  Asian  Art 
and  the  Asian  Art  Museum.   The  Asian  Art  Museum  set  up  its  own 
staff,  and  we  are,  as  I  said  before,  voluntary.   They  are  an 
established  city  function. 

Riess:     Was  that  the  result  of  some  problems  within  the  museum? 

Caldwell:   Veil,  there  were  a  lot  of  problems.   See,  originally  the  idea  is 
that  they  had  one  director  for  the  entire  museum,  both  East  and 
Vest.   Now,  want  to  turn  that  off  a  minute  while  I  think?   [tape 

Before  there  was  a  sufficient  appreciation  of  expertise  in 
the  Asian  field  on  the  part  of  the  community  they  invited  Jan 
Fontein  over  here.   Here  he  had  a  fine  position  at  the 
Rijksmuseum  in  Amsterdam,  and  they  wanted  him  to  leave  that  for 
a  temporary  trial  in  San  Francisco.   Of  all  impractical  ideas, 


how  anyone  could  give  up  a  very  fine,  prestigious  Job  to  come  on 
trial!  And  so,  of  course,  that  was  out  of  the  question. 

Jan  Fontein  told  me- -I  became  quite  well  acquainted  with 
him- -he  told  me  that  he  didn't  see  how  you  could  ever  be  a 
director  of  a  museum  in  San  Francisco  and  carry  on  any  scholarly 
work,  because  every  museum  director  is  expected  to  be  at  a 
dinner  party  every  night.   He  thoroughly  disliked  the  idea  of 
coming  to  San  Francisco  for  these  reasons,  and  he  turned  it 
down.  Eventually  he  got  to  the  Boston  Museum,  far  more 
prestigious.   The  Freer  and  the  Boston  are  in  a  different 

Riess:     Clarence  Shangraw? 

Caldwell:   He  was  studying  here  at  Berkeley  with  Cahill.   He  came  later. 

Riess:     Was  it  Brundage's  requirement  that  there  be  a  separate  Asian  art 
commission,  a  separate  organization  associated  with  his 

Caldwell:   Yes,  absolutely,  he  wanted  it  to  be  separate.   And  eventually 
that's  what  happened,  that  the  administration  of  the  Asian  Art 
Museum  is  autonomous.   This  he  insisted  on.   That  was  not  the 
original  intention,  but  Brundage  very  much  wanted  it  to  be  that 

Stories  of  Averv  Brundaee 

Caldwell:  I  was  on  the  search  committee  to  try  to  find  a  director,  and  a 
problem  in  getting  direction  was  Brundage  himself.  I'll  never 
forget  one  of  the  funniest  experiences  I  ever  had.  I  was  down 
in  the  basement,  and  Brundage --this  was  when  they  were  opening 
things  in  his  collection.  The  then-curator  of  Asian  art  from 
the  Freer  Gallery  in  Washington,  wonderful  man,  was  there,  and 
Mr.  Brundage  would  say,  "Now,  what's  this?  What's  this?" 

"Well,  Mr.  Brundage,  it  could  be  12th  Century,  or  it  might 
even  be  18th  Century."  On  and  on  and  on,  never  "It's  such-and- 
such."   Finally  Brundage  said,  "Well!   Since  you  don't  know, 
then  my  opinion's  just  as  good  as  yours!" 

This  I  say  not  in  too  much  scorn  of  Mr.  Brundage,  because 
he  didn't  at  that  time  understand  the  difference  between  the 
educated  and  the  uneducated  guess .   Eventually  he  came  to  have 
respect  for  the  scholar,  but  at  that  time  he  just  thought,  "If 





you  can't  say  it's  such-and-such,  then  I'm  just  as  good  as  you 
are,"  you  know.  And  that  was  of  course  a  problem  for  a  highly 
educated  person.  But  he  did  learn,  he  did  learn. 

Because  of  the  Olympics  committee,  and  the  businessman  and 
•ports  connection,  had  he  friends  in  town? 

Did  he  have  friends  in  San  Francisco  before?  I  don't  know  about 
that.   But  he  made  friends  with  patrons  of  art  in  the  city. 

But  I  have  to  tell  you  one  more  thing,  if  you  don't  mind,  a 
personal  thing  with  Brundage.   He  had  his  collection  in  Chicago, 
as  you  may  know,  and  he  yanked  it  out  of  the  Art  Institute 
because  of  some  dispute  with  that  museum.   In  fact  he  really  and 
truly  had  a  frightful  difference  of  opinion,  to  put  it  mildly, 
with  the  director  of  the  Chicago  Art  Institute.  There  was  a 
hotel  that  he  owned  in  Chicago,  the  LaSalle  Hotel,  and  he  stored 
in  room  after  room  after  room  works  of  art  he  had  collected. 

He  had  urged  those  of  us  who  had  been  working  with  him  in 
the  Society  for  Asian  Art,  if  we  ever  came  to  Chicago,  to  get  in 
touch  with  him.   My  husband  was  busy  with  something  else,  so  I 
called  up  Mr.  Brundage  and  he  said,  "Oh,  come  and  have  dinner 
with  Mrs.  [Elizabeth]  Brundage  and  me.   That  will  be  just  fine. 
But  let  me  show  you  first  my  works  of  art  in  the  LaSalle  Hotel." 

This  is  what  he  did:  he'd  open  a  door,  and  it  would  be 
jammed  full  of,  say,  Thai  sculptures.  You  hadn't  had  a  chance 
to  look  at  a  thing  before  he  slammed  the  door.   He  wanted  you  to 
see  how  much  he  had,  not  the  quality.   Door  after  door  was 
opened,  and  you  would  be  dying  to  really  examine  something, 
slam,  slam,  slam. 

I  went  out  to  his  house  for  dinner,  just  with  him  and  Mrs. 
Brundage.   She  was  a  charmer,  and  he  was  terrible  to  her. 
Everybody  knew  how  rude  he  was  to  this  lovely  Mrs.  Brundage. 
She  would  say,  "Now,  Avery,  I  think  Mrs.  Caldwell  might  like  to 
see  such-and-such  in  those  drawers."  Getting  up  from  the  table 
as  if  she'd  asked  him  to  go  and  take  some  castor  oil  or 
something,  he  would  open  this  desk  and  roughly  take  some  of 
these  things  out,  or  else  open  something  she  had  not  asked  to 
show.   It  was  the  most  terrible  evening  from  the  point  of  view 
of  relationship  to  husband  and  wife  I've  ever  had. 

Was  she  expert  herself? 

I  don't  really  know  what  to  say  about  that.   I  have  no  idea. 


Another  time,  Jim  and  I  were  down  in  Santa  Barbara.   He 
[Brundage]  really  and  truly  liked  to  be  approached,  you  know.   I 
think  he  was  insecure  and  lonely.   So  he  very  much  liked  to  have 
people  look  him  up,  because  Jim  and  I  were  not  people  who  look 
up  somebody  Just  because  they  were  a  big  name.  Anyway,  we  went 
down  there  one  time  and  had  a  similar  experience  of  being 
welcomed  and  shown  around.   That  was  before  those  things  down 
there  burned  up.   I  just  thought  you  might  be  interested  in 
those  personal  experiences . 

Riess:     Did  you  ever  talk  with  Mr.  Brundage  about  any  specific  pieces? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  never  wanted  to,  after  having  witnessed  this  scene  that  I 
spoke  to  you  of  before  when  he  felt  that  he  knew  as  much  as 
anybody  else.   I  never  talked  to  him  about  art  at  all,  only 
about  how  to  get  his  collection  for  San  Francisco,  and  how  to 
get  him  some  kind  of  a  tax  deduction.  He  was  obsessed  with 
getting  a  tax  deduction. 

Riess:     When  Griff ing  in  Hawaii  said,  "By  all  means,  get  the  Brundage 
collection,"  what  was  there  for  you  to  see  at  the  time? 

Caldwell:   I  had  seen  pictures  of  things  that  were  in  the  Art  Institute  in 
Chicago.   Bronzes,  mostly.   The  Chinese  bronzes  were  the  great 
thing.   The  Chinese  bronzes  are  by  far  the  most  distinguished 
things  in  his  collection. 

Activities  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art 

Caldwell:   I  had  something  very  touching  yesterday.   Two  of  the  women  who 

are  on  the  board  came  over.  They're  dear  friends,  and  they  came 
over  because  1  had  been  sick,  but  also  they  wanted  to  have  a 
little  private  group  on  the  Japanese  art  here  at  my  house. 
Isn't  that  nice?  I  don't  know  that  I  can  do  it  or  not. 

Riess:     A  study  group? 

Caldwell:  A  study  group,  yes.   It's  nice. 

I  wanted  to  resign  from  the  board  because  I  thought  I  was 
too  old,  not  doing  enough.   They  insist  I  remain.   When  I  went 
to  the  annual  advisor's  meeting  last  Sunday  I  just  had  a 
wonderful  time.  They're  awfully  welcoming  to  me,  all  of  these 
people.   I  went  over  with  Jim  Cahill  and  David  Keightley.   David 
Keightley  is  a  great,  great  scholar  on  early  Chinese 








archaeology.  He  figured  out  from  early  inscriptions  on  animal 
bones  when  the  Chinese  language  was  formed.   [tape  interruption] 

Was  the  group  always  called  the  Society  for  Asian  Art? 

The  official  name?  This  I  must  tell  you  about,  and  another 
thing-  -two  things  I  must  tell  you.   We  had  a  great  to-do  about 
what  to  call  it.   It's  the  Society  for  Asian  Art,  not 


Ours  was  really  an  educational  organization.   We  had  Monday 
night  lectures-  -not  every  Monday—with  scholars.   Because  our 
budget  is  small  we  try  to  be  alerted  about  distinguished  people 
coming  on  their  own  budget  through  the  city,  and  then  nail  them 
down  for  a  lecture,  because  we  can't  pay  to  have  them  come  just 
to  lecture  to  our  Society. 

One  of  my  contributions  to  the  Society  for  Asian  Art  was 
the  suggestion  that  we  establish  a  scholarship  for  a  graduate 
student  in  Asian  art.  At  first,  they  were  very  recalcitrant, 
but  now  they  are  very,  very  proud  of  the  fact  that  we  have  a 
fund  for  a  graduate  student  in  Asian  art.  And  I've  been  very 
much  interested  in  that. 

And  this  fund  allows  them  to  study  in  the  collection  for  a 
period  of  time? 

Yes.   And  there's  another  thing  the  Society  does  that  is  very, 
very  generous  and  civic-minded,  and  that  is  that  they  will  fund, 
to  the  extent  of  their  financial  ability,  an  exhibition  in 
another  place,  for  example  at  Mills.   Several  times  they  have 
financed,  say,  a  catalogue  for  an  Asian  art  show  there,  or 
something  like  that.   Maybe  at  Stanford.   Which  I  think  is  very 
broad-minded,  not  just  a  little  insular  sort  of  closed 

When  they  have  the  lectures  are  they  advertised  widely,  or  is 
this  just  for  the  membership? 

Oh,  they  get  out  a  regular  bulletin,  and  those  are  very 
interesting.   I'm  glad  you  brought  that  up.   Because  they  have 
articles  in  them  by  scholars,  as  well  as  notices  of  people,  of 
coming  events  and  so  on,  and  a  list  of  the  officers  of  the 
society.   But  they  are  oftentimes  very  interesting. 


Harrv  Packard 

Caldwell:  There  is  another  story  in  connection  with  the  Brundage 

collection  that  I  should  put  in  here,  and  it  is  in  the  category 
of  regrets  about  things  1  did  not  do.  We  could  have  had  one  of 
the  great  collections  of  Japanese  art  for  $1  million,  which  the 
Metropolitan  bought  for  $2  million. 

There  was  a  man- -Harry  Packard  was  his  name,  he's  still 
alive- -another  one  of  these  amazing  people  with  no  academic 
background  who  had  incredible  taste.  He  was  an  American,  but 
bilingual,  and  he  was  in  the  army  at  the  time  of  the  occupation 
of  Japan.   He  Just  went  around  buying  these  beautiful  Japanese 
works  of  art  for  nothing.   His  collection  was  housed  for  several 
years  in  the  basement  of  the  Oakland  Public  Library  main 
building  for  earthquake  and  fire  purposes.  Mr.  Brundage  was 
prevailed  upon  to  buy  it,  but  at  that  time,  Japanese  art  was  not 
of  any  interest  to  him. 

The  reason  I  mention  that  now  is  1  wish  1  had  just  gotten 
out  and  blown  the  trumpet,  gotten  hold  of  wealthy  people  in  San 
Francisco  and  said,  "We  mustn't  lose  this."  I  didn't. 

He  collected  it  during  the  occupation,  and  then  it  stayed  in 

Yes,  he  lived  around  here,  and  he  just  brought  them  here.   But 
it  became  known  that  these  things  were  of  very  great  value .   And 
there  they  were .   I  can  wring  my  hands  over  not  having  done 
anything  about  that.   I  am  just  not  a  mover  and  shaker. 

Riess:  Brundage  knew  the  collection?  He  had  seen  it? 
Caldwell:  Oh,  yes,  he  was  approached  to  buy  it.  But  no. 
Riess:  Why  wouldn't  he? 

Caldwell:  Well,  it  didn't  interest  him.   There  are  some  very  fine  Japanese 
works  of  art  now  in  the  Brundage  collection,  but  for  some  reason 
or  other  this  didn't  take  with  him.  And  of  course,  it  would 
have  been  hard,  I  think,  to  raise  a  million  dollars  for  it.   But 
even  so,  I  have  regrets. 

Riess:     In  an  essay  on  Brundage  in  the  catalog,  The  Art  of  Japan: 

Masterworks  in  the  Asian  Art  Museum  of  San  Francisco  [published 
by  the  Asian  Art  Museum,  1991]  I  read  that  Harry  Packard  had 
created  a  notebook  for  Brundage  on  dealers,  et  cetera,  in  Japan. 




Caldwell:   I  didn't  know  that. 

Incidentally- 'here's  another  story—Harry  Packard  and 
[Otto]  Maenchen  eventually  became  good  friends,  but  I  remember 
once  they  had  a  frightful  and  embarrassing  confrontation. 

Riess:     What  was  the  story? 

Caldwell:   Well,  Harry  Packard  had  no  academic  background,  certainly  not  in 
art,  but  he  was  always  kind  of  poking  his  nose  in  here  and 
there,  and  he  just  appeared  one  day  with  his  baby  in  Maenchen' s 
class.   At  that  time  I  was  studying  at  UC  Berkeley,  and  of 
course  I  was  attending  Maenchen' s  class,  and  Packard  came  in 
with  the  baby  and  sat  there,  reclined  for  a  long  time.  And  then 
he  put  his  hand  up  because  he  wanted  to  ask  a  question,  and 
Maenchen  did  not  recognize  him. 

He  did  not  put  his  arm  down,  he  just  kept  it  there  for  at 
least  ten  minutes,  maybe  longer.   Finally  he  said,  "Mr. 
Maenchen,  are  you  going  to  let  me  ask  my  question,  or  are  you 
afraid  you  won't  know  the  answer?"  I  was  there!   I  heard  that 
with  my  own  ears!   And  so  of  course,  there  was  a  great  animosity 
that  built  up.   In  the  course  of  time  they  became  friends,  and 
when  Maenchen  went  to  Japan,  Packard  was  very,  very  hospitable. 

Riess:     If  Packard  had  no  background  how  did  he  collect? 

Caldwell:   I  think  it's  largely  his  own  what  I  call- -well,  like  absolute 

pitch  in  music.   It's  something  inborn.   It  was  the  second  time 
I've  seen  that.   I  may  have  told  you,  when  I  was  a  graduate 
student  at  Harvard  they  admitted  one  student  whose  grades  were 
not  quite  acceptable.   And  he  was  the  one  that  was  always  right 
about  identifying  something- -he  was  a  C  student  who  was  always 
A-double-plus  on  identification. 

Riess:     Earlier  Brundage  had  offered  his  collection  to  UC  Berkeley,  to 
UCLA,  to  Stanford. 

Caldwell:  He  offered  it  so  many  places,  I  can't  remember  exactly  which 

museums.  You  see,  he  did  have  conditions  about  public  financing 
of  the  building.  It  wasn't  as  though  he  were  willing  to  finance 

For  example,  the  Atkins  Gallery  in  Kansas  City,  the  Nelson 
Gallery,  the  man  who  left  that  building  had  the  good  sense  to 
know  that  the  distinction  of  the  building  depended  on  its 
contents,  and  he  left  a  huge  purchase  fund.   Incidentally, 
Langdon  Warner  comes  in  on  that,  because  he  and  his  most 
brilliant  graduate  student,  Laurence  Sickman,  went  to  China 


before  the  communist  revolution  and  bought—one  of  the  greatest 
collections  in  the  world  of  Chinese  painting  is  in  Kansas  City. 
This  is  apropos  of  the  attitude  of  someone  who  leaves  funds. 



Caldwell:  [Talking  in  Kay's  study]  This  little  room  I  dearly  love.  It's 
always  a  mess,  Suzanne,  but  it  is  my  favorite  room.  It's  where 
I  live,  a  good  deal. 

That  is  a  Hassam,  one  of  our  great  American  Impressionists. 
Maybe  it  doesn't  hit  you,  that  "Moonlight,"  but  I  love  that  one. 
That  goes  to  the  Achenbach  Collection  in  San  Francisco  [Fine 
Arts  Museums,  Palace  of  the  Legion  of  Honor]  when  I  die.   Childe 
Hassam  did  all  three  of  these  pictures.   This  one  is  a 
watercolor,  and  this  one's  an  oil. 

And  that  is  a  picture  of  Colonel  Vood,  painting  with  Hassam 
in  the  Oregon  desert.  This  is  Pops--"C.E.S.W. "--and  this  is 
Hassam.   That's  the  reason  the  picture  is  here. 

Riess:     In  shirt-sleeves  in  the  desert. 

Caldwell:  And  that  is  the  painting,  "Thunderstorm  on  the  Oregon  Trail." 

Riess:     What  about  the  portraits? 

Caldwell:   Those  are  not  done  by  anybody  of  importance.   Those  are  my 

children.  My  son's  hair- -he  didn't  have  any  hair  until  he  was 
eighteen  months  old,  and  then  every  hair  came  in  a  little  curl 
like  that.   And  poor  Sara,  with  her  straight  her.   Of  course, 
nowadays  straight  hair  is  "in." 

Riess:     This  portrait  on  the  steps  [descending  to  the  living  room]  is 
Colonel  Wood? 

Caldwell:  Yes.   It  was  not  done  by  a  famous  artist,  but  it  is  absolutely  a 
verisimilitude.   It  is  absolutely  exactly  the  way  he  looked. 




And  this,  also  of  Colonel  Wood,  is  a  Stackpole  drawing, 
a  drawing  for  a  sculpture? 

Was  it 

Caldwell : 


Caldwell : 

Caldwell : 

No,  he  didn't  ever  do  a  sculpture.  He  did  a  sculpture  of  me, 
but  he  didn't  do  one  of  Colonel  Wood.   That's  a  funny  thing.   I 
wonder  why  he  never  did.   I  guess  they  commissioned  him  to  do 
the  one  of  me.   That's  downstairs,  and  it  goes  to  Mills  College. 

What  about  this  chair? 

Well,  Mother  and  Pops  had  the  chair.   You  see,  it's  not  my 
style,  it's  English,  and  I  happen  to  like  Chinese  furniture, 
heavy  stuff. 

That's  a  Tibetan  tanka  that  Mother  and  Pops  had.   I  don't 
ever  remember  seeing  it  up,  in  their  house.   It's  a  very  nice 
one.   It  has  an  inscription  on  the  back  of  it  that  was 
translated  by  somebody  over  at  the  [Asian  Art]  Museum.   It  comes 
from  a  temple  in  Lhasa. 

The  dining  room  means  a  lot  to  me  because  I've  had 
heaven-knows  how  many,  innumerable,  countless,  small  dinner 
parties.   My  idea  of  the  best  way  to  entertain  is  at  a  small 
dinner  party,  preferably  six,  a  maximum  of  eight.   My  husband 
always  used  to  say,  in  this  room,  that  the  whole  idea  of  a  small 
dinner  party  is  group  conversation,  and  he  used  to  pound  on  the 
table  if  it  weren't.   Which  of  course  a  man  can  do  better  than  a 
woman!   [laughing] 

[In  dining  room]   This  furniture  came  from  Los  Gatos? 

Yes,  practically  everything,  except  the  little  Scandinavian 
piece  over  there. 

Was  it  imported  from  China  in  a  suite? 

[laughs]   Oh,  no,  Mother  and  Pops  never  did  anything  in  suites. 
Everything  was  individual  for  them.  Actually,  they  never  used 
this  dining  room  table,  they  didn't  like  this  table,  and  they 
had  a  large  17th  century  English  dining  room  table  at  Los  Gatos 
that  held  a  great  many  more  people  than  this  one  does. 

This  was  bought  in  Chinatown? 

Yes.   See,  they  lived  up  on  Russian  Hill,  just  above  Chinatown, 
and  you  could  walk  down  there.   And  in  the  twenties  there  was  an 
abundance  of  furniture  from  mainland  China. 


The  Korean  vase  over  there  is  very  special.   That  goes  to 
the  Asian  Art  Museum  when  I  die.   It  has  a  rare  design  on  it. 
It's  18th  century.   It's  something  that  Pops  had  bought  at  some 
time  or  other,  and  I  happen  to  love  it.   I  have  had  offers  for 
it  a  great  many  times .  There  is  a  collector  down  in  Los  Angeles 
who  would  like  to  have  it,  but  I've  turned  him  down. 

I'll  tell  you  something  funny  about  that:  he  would  come 
back  every  year  and  offer  me  more  money  for  it.   And  I  would 
say,  "But  Bob,  I  like  it,  I  want  to  keep  it  'til  I  die."  And 
then  I  said,  "I'll  tell  you  something"--!  lowered  my  voice,  I 
whispered  it  to  him- -I  said,  "I'm  saving  it  for  my  ashes."  Of 
course  I  didn't  mean  that,  but  he  went  as  white  as  the  vase  and 
never  asked  me  for  it  again. 

Riess:     Why  is  it  particularly  special? 

Caldwell:   You  have  to  know  about  Korean  ceramics  to  know.   The  design  on 
it  is  unusual . 

This  Japanese  print,  the  Utamaro,  is  of  no  value  because 
the  color  has  long  since  faded,  long  before  I  inherited  it.   But 
[James  A.]  Michener,  the  great  authority  on  Japanese  prints,  was 
here  one  time  at  dinner  and  he  said,  "Doesn't  it  look  beautiful, 
just  as  a  design  on  the  wall?"  which  I  thought  was  a  very 
gracious  thing  for  him  to  have  said. 

There's  been  many  a  dinner  party  here,  of  people  of  all 
kinds  and  descriptions.   Jim  used  to  feel  that  we  should  never 
have  a  party  that  was  just  all  academic. 

Riess:     What  about  this  Ray  Boynton,  Kay? 

Caldwell:   I  think  he  must  have  been  doing  things  like  that,  designs  of 
that  type,  when  he  was  working  on  the  mural  at  Mills  College. 
On  the  other  hand,  it's  very  similar  to  what  he  did  at  Los 

Riess:     It  is  about  8"  by  18",  inscribed,  "To  C.E.S.W.  on  his  eightieth 
birthday."  Ray  Boynton. 

Caldwell:   Have  you  seen  Mother  and  Fops's  bookplate?  It  was  taken  from 
the  design  he  [Boynton]  did  for  their  big  mural  down  at  Los 

Riess:     Was  this  wall  originally  panelled? 

Caldwell:  No,  that  has  cardboard  behind  it.  And  my  husband  put  all 

this--.   It  looked  so  perfectly  terrible  with  the  redwood  [and 


cardboard].  We  would  never  have  covered  redwood,  of  course,  but 
it  was  a  terrible  cardboard,  and  my  husband  had  the  brilliant 
idea  of  covering  it  with  this  [grasscloth]  and  that's  what  he 

Riess:     When  you  bought  this  house- - 

Caldwell:   --in  1941,  by  the  way-- 

Riess:     --had  there  been  major  changes  to  the  house? 

Caldwell:   No,  no  major  changes.   After  all,  it  was  an  architect-designed 
house.   Ve  wouldn't  have  made  any  major  changes. 

Riess:     Did  you  buy  it  from  the  people  for  whom  it  was  designed—by  John 

Caldwell:   No.   It  had  been  in  more  than  one  hand. 
Riess:     You  did  say  it  was  John  White? 

Caldwell:  That  is  what  [Kenneth]  Cardwell  thinks.   But  Mrs.  White  told  me 
that  Maybeck  designed  it.   So  there  you  are.   I  think  they 
worked  together  so  closely  that  until  Maybeck' s  name  became  so 
much  more  famous  they  made  little  distinction  as  to  who  did 

Riess:     And  what  year  was  the  house  built? 

Caldwell:   Three  years  after  the  Berkeley  fire,  in  1926. 

Riess:     I  love  this  sofa.   Maybe  it's  just  the  cushions. 

Caldwell:  Yes.  That's  again  this  combination  of  Chinese  with  Chinese 

designs  on  the  big  cushions,  and  the  Persian  ones  on  the  other. 
Pops  didn't  care  about  that,  he  just  wanted  beautiful  things. 
And  if  you  look  at  pictures  you  can  see  how  it  was  arranged  in 
their  own  house. 

I  wonder,  does  it  look  differently  than  when  Jim  was  here? 
A  lot  of  things  were  rearranged  because  my  mother  died  after  Jim 
died,  so  that  some  of  this  furniture  came  from  her  house,  and 
after  his  death. 

Riess:     The  scrolls  on  either  side  of  the  fireplace? 

Caldwell:   I  got  those  from  Jim  Cahill.   They  are  Japanese,  18th  century. 


And  over  the  fireplace,  that's  something  quite  interesting, 
that's  a  rubbing  from  a  cave,  a  Buddhist  cave  in  China.   It's  a 
rubbing  right  from  the  original  stone;  it's  not  a  photograph  of 
a  rubbing.   It's  of  a  flying  deity.   Can  you  see  the  garments 
blowing  in  the  wind?  And  the  pattern  underneath  that  looks  like 
a  plant,  is  not,  it's  a  convention  for  clouds,  in  Chinese  art. 

I  felt  that  it  was  important  that  we  have  something  airy 
over  there,  flying  up  in  the  air.  Originally  we  had  a  Calder 
mobile  here.  It  was  loaned  to  us,  and  it  was  quite  beautiful, 
but  it  fell  down  one  day.  And  it  was  made  up  of  great  big  iron 
pieces ,  and  had  anybody  been  under  it  they  probably  would  have 
had  their  head  split  open!   So  we  never  put  it  back,  we  gave  it 
back  to  Peggy  Hayes,  Calder 's  sister,  who  had  loaned  it  to  us. 

Riess:     How  did  that  fit  in  to  this  house? 

Caldwell:   It  looked  wonderful.   The  house  absorbs  almost  anything 

beautiful,  you  know,  it  doesn't  matter  what  civilization  or 
period  it  comes  from. 

The  wood  block  print  over  there  was  by  a  famous  Japanese 
priest  named  Nichiren,  and  I  got  that  from  R.E.  Lewis,  quite  a 
famous  print  dealer.   He  lives  in  Marin  County  and  he  has  a 
mail-order  business  for  the  most  part.   He  is  so  famous  he 
doesn't  have  to  maintain  a  showroom. 

Riess:     When  you  went  on  your  many  trips  to  Asia  did  you  bring  back 
important  pieces? 

Caldwell:   No,  I  never  had  any  money  to  do  anything.   I  never  bought 

anything,  no.  No,  I  never  did  at  all.  Anything  I  have  of  any 
value  I  have  inherited.  I  did  buy  that  Nichiren,  but  very  few 
[other  things] . 

A  friend  of  mine  gave  me  the  flying  Bodhissatva.   She  had 
lived  in  China,  and  knew  absolutely  nothing  about  Chinese  art  at 
first- -she  knows  a  lot  now- -and  she  had  a  huge  chest  full  of 
these  beautiful  rubbings.   (A  rubbing  is  done  by  inking  whatever 
you  are  going  to  imprint  on  your  paper,  and  putting  this  wet 
paper  down  on  the  stone.)  Anyway,  she  had  an  extraordinarily 
fine  collection  of  these  rubbings  that  she  had  acquired  when  she 
lived  in  China.   She  was  an  artist,  and  not  an  art  historian, 
and  she  had  an  instinctive  appreciation  of  these  beautiful 
things . 

Riess:     Your  bookcases,  they  look  like  they  are  full  of  old  editions. 


Caldwell:   The  room  was  designed  without  bookcases,  and  my  husband  lamented 
the  fact  that  there  was  no  bookcase  in  the  room.  He  said  there 
should  never  be  a  room,  other  than  maybe  a  kitchen,  that  doesn't 
have  books  in  it.   I  felt  it  was  a  terrible  thing  to  do  to  the 
Maybeck  house- -or  Maybeck-White  house,  whatever  you  want  to  call 
it—but  he  wanted  it  so  badly  that  as  a  surprise  one  Christmas  I 
had  it  made  for  him.  And  I'd  say  he  was  right,  I  think  it  warms 
the  room  a  great  deal  to  have  the  bookcase  there. 

Riess:     Is  there  an  important  book  collection  there? 

Caldwell:  No,  there's  not.  Anything  of  importance  has  gone  to  The 

Bancroft  Library  or  to  the  Huntington.  There  are  some  nice 
books  there,  but  none  of  any  great  note. 

Riess:     [Looking  at  a  book  about  Ishi]   Did  you  know  Theodora  Kroeber? 

Caldwell:   I  knew  her  quite  well.   I  belong  to  an  organization  called  Woman 
Geographers  that  she  belonged  to.  The  Woman  Geographers  still 

Riess:     Tell  me  about  it. 

Caldwell:   It  started  originally- -it  had  Amelia  Earhart  in  it  at  one  time, 
for  example.   (Of  course,  I  never  knew  her.)  Then  there  weren't 
enough  women  geographers ,  so  they  extended  the  membership  to 
people  of  rather  unusual  disciplines.   In  other  words,  Asian  art 
was  all  right,  but  if  I  had  been  in  Renaissance  art  I  wouldn't 
have  been  asked,  you  know.   And  so  I  belonged  to  this 
extraordinary  group.  They  were  mostly  women  in  the  sciences,  in 
the  physical  sciences. 

Riess:     Exploring  new  frontiers. 

Caldwell:   That's  right,  you  have  the  right  language. 

Riess:     Was  it  located  out  here? 

Caldwell:  No,  it  was  in  Washington,  D.C.  But  we  have  a  very  lively  chapter 
here,  and  one  or  two  women  of  considerable  distinction  in  the 
physical  sciences. 

Riess:     Where  did  you  meet? 

Caldwell:  We  used  to  meet  in  private  houses.  They  often  met  here.  But  it 
became  so  large  that  we  couldn't  handle  the  number,  especially 
as  guests  were  often  invited.   So  now  one  of  our  members  is  in  a 
retirement  place,  Piedmont  Gardens,  and  she  has  permission  for 
us  to  meet  in  the  social  hall  of  that  institution,  and  that's 


where  we  meet.   Every  time  we  meet,  some  specialist  gives  a 
talk.   So  it's  not  Just  social,  it's  focused  on  something  quite 
serious  each  time. 

Riess:     And  they  continue  to  bring  in  new  members. 

Caldwell:   Oh  yes,  and  mostly  very  young  women,  very  able  young  people. 

It's  a  nice  mixture  of  generations,  because  of  course  there  are 
a  lot  of  old  people  too.   But  we  have  new  members,  and  we  have 
scholarships  too. 

Riess:     And  Theodora? 

Caldwell:   I  knew  her  quite  apart  from  that  organization,  I  knew  her  just 
socially.   I  don't  remember  where  I  first  met  her.   And  I  knew 
her  husband  somewhat  too,  just  because  I  was  interested  in  the 
art.   And  in  the  University  community  you  meet  people  on  a  dual 
basis,  I  think,  of  social  and  professional. 

Riess:     And  why  do  you  have  this  book  on  your  coffee  table  about  the 
goddess  by  Joseph  Campbell. 

Caldwell:   I  am  very  much  interested  in  Joseph  Campbell- -actually  this  book 
doesn't  belong  to  me- -but  I  am  very  interested  in  what  he  has 
done  on  Indian  art . 

I  have  some  friends,  a  group  of  women  in  the  Asian  art 
group  [Society  for  Asian  Art]  in  San  Francisco  who  came  over. 
They  wanted  to  have  a  little  study  of  folk  art,  and  they  just 
happened  to  have  brought  that  book  along.   They  were  going  to 
come  over  on  May  Day,  and  we  were  going  to  have  a  little  study 
of  Japanese  folk  art. 

Riess:     And  you  will  lead  the  study? 

Caldwell:   I  will  be  leading  it,  along  with  the  curator  of  Japanese  art  in 
San  Francisco,  a  woman  named  Yoshiko  Kakudo .   I  think  that  will 
be  fun,  an  interesting  thing  to  do.   I  think  for  the  most  part 
the  attraction  of  folk  art  is  its  great  simplicity;  in  a  complex 
world  it's  very  restful  to  look  at.  We're  going  to  compare  what 
pieces  we  have  in  our  own  collections.   I  have  a  few  ceramic 
pieces  —  it's  mostly  in  ceramics  anyway—which  I  bought.  That  I 
have  done,  I've  bought  a  few  ceramics. 

Riess:     Tell  me  about  that  little  chair. 

Caldwell:   I  call  it  a  conversation  piece.   It  is  unusual  because  of  the 
ceramic  rather  than  carved  wood  inset.   It's  Just  an  oddity, 
really.  We  never  use  it,  it's  utterly  hopeless  to  sit  in,  it's 


not  designed  for  the  human  spine.   It's  Chinese,  but  it's 
Chinese  with  a  lot  of  Western  influence  in  it  too,  and  it  was 
not  made  for--.   I'm  sure  no  Chinese --they 're  so 
practical- -would  ever  have  made  such  an  uncomfortable  chair  to 
sit  in. 

Riess:     What  about  that  bookcase? 

Caldwell:   That's  something  that  Mother  and  Pops  found  in  a  second-hand 
store  down  in  San  Jose.   It  was  painted,  but  Pops  saw  that  it 
was  a  nice  thing,  and  he  had  it  all  taken  off.  There  are  some 
nice  things  in  there,  several  books  that  are  autographed  by 
Robinson  Jeffers.  A  few  nicely -autographed  things. 

Riess :     Is  that  an  eagle  on  top? 

Caldwell:   Yes,  that  is  one  of  those  Chinese  carvings,  like  others  I  have 
in  the  front  hall,  that  the  Chinese  use  in  their  architectural 
decoration.   If  Jim  had  lived,  we  were  going  to  build  a  little 
house  on  our  seaside  property  in  Mendocino  County,  and  we 
thought  a  predatory  bird  like  that  would  be  very  appropriate  up 
there  on  the  coast. 

The  clock  came  from  Jim's  family. 
Riess:     I  don't  know  anything  about  Jim's  family. 

Caldwell:  Jim's  family  were  from  the  South.  They  came  to  Virginia.  There 
was  a  great  Caldwell  gathering  there  several  years  ago,  and  that 
was  how  I  knew  what  strong  ties  they  had  with  the  South.   But 
Jim  was  not  brought  up  in  the  South,  he  simply  knew  that  he  had 
relatives  there,  all  of  whom  he  welcomed  happily.   He  was  very 
fond  of  his  family,  very  strongly  fond  of  his  family,  but  they 
had  not  lived  in  the  South;  in  his  generation,  they  were  in 

Oh,  take  that  down  [to  Riess,  who  is  walking  toward 
bookcase].   That's  a  very  rare  piece.   My  son  wants  to  have  it. 
That's  called  the  "great  horned  spoon."   It  comes  from  the 
Northwest  coast,  it's  Indian.   See  that  beautiful  carving  on  it? 
This  is  made  out  of  one  horn,  isn't  that  astonishing?  They  have 
a  great  collection  of  these  up  in  Portland. 

Riess:     Horn  of  what? 

Caldwell:  Well,  I  don't  know.  Pops  always  called  it  the  "great  horned 
spoon."  I  took  everything  he  said,  you  know,  verbatim. 

Riess:     It  looks  like  wood  to  me. 


Caldwell:   It  does,  doesn't  it?  But  I  am  sure  it  really  was  a  horn. 

That's  one  thing  that  Pops  would  not  have  been  wrong  about. 

The  little  sculptures  [in  the  bookcase]  there  are 
supposedly  8th  century  Chinese  tomb  figures.  But  the  trouble 
is,  they  can  copy  things  so  easily,  one  can't  be  sure.   Some 
people  think  that  they  are  authentic,  and  some  don't.   One 
dealer  offered  me  quite  a  lot  of  money  for  them  who  believed 
them  to  be  authentic.   But  I  think  they  are  perfectly  charming. 

Riess:     It  sounds  like  you  have  had  a  number  of  dealers  looking  at 
things . 

Caldwell:  Oh,  one  dealer  tells  another.  Yes.  And  after  Mother  died  I 
sold  some  things  and  gave  things  to  museums  because  I  didn't 
want  the  burden  of  having  a  whole  lot  of  valuable  things  around. 

Riess:     On  this  high  table  is  a  Bufano  head  of  a  girl,  with  blue  glaze. 

Caldwell:   Well,  my  step-father  gave  him  the  money  to  go  to  China  to  learn 
to  do  that  particular  kind  of  blue  glaze.   This  is  one  of  the 
figures  that  he  did  after  that.   I  don't  know  who  it  is,  I  have 
no  idea.   I  have  one  more  Bufano,  a  ceramic  sculpture  downstairs 
of  a  Christ  figure. 

Riess:     Downstairs? 

Caldwell:  There  is  an  awful  storage  room  downstairs- -it's  not  a  piece  that 
I  am  interested  in,  at  all,  not  at  all. 

Riess:     Now  what  about  out  here  in  the  foyer? 

Caldwell:   Oh  yes,  the  little  Indian  pieces.   I  bought  them  when  I  was 

there  in  1958.   Little  stone  pieces.   (One  of  them  is  wood- -I 
just  got  that  at  Cost  Plus.)   The  little  stone  pieces  I  got  in 
India,  and  they  are  quite  early.   The  female  figure  is  probably 
2nd  century,  and  the  other  one  may  be  5th  century.  They  are 
going  to  go  to  Mills  College.   The  woman  who  teaches  Indian  art 
there,  she'll  love  having  them. 

Riess:     The  Bodhissatva?  That  was  your  parents'? 

Caldwell:  Yes,  Mother  was  going  to  burn  that  up  because  it  had  bugs  in  it, 
but  I  saved  it  and  had  a  great  expert  restore  it.   I  phoned  a 
friend  in  Washington,  at  the  Freer  Gallery,  and  he  told  me 
about--.   You  can  see  that  it  had  fabric  on  it,  and  it  had  gold 
at  one  time.   It  is  probably  maybe  17th  century. 


What  will  become  of  this? 


Caldwell:   This  goes  to  the  Zen  Center  in  Berkeley.   I  hope  they  will  put 
it  in  the  zendo.   It's  not  quite  good  enough  for  the  Museum. 
That  is  to  say,  it's  good  enough,  but  they  have  other  similar 
things.   They  don't  need  another  Bodhissatva  of  this  kind. 

Riess:     What  has  been  your  association  with  the  Zen  Center? 

Caldwell:   When  I  was  in  Japan  in  1958  I  got  interested  in  Zen  art,  the 
gardens,  you  know,  and  many  of  the  paintings.   So  I  studied 
their  doctrines  in  order  to  understand  in  greater  depth  the 
relationship  to  the  painting.   I  was  not  converted,  but  I  got 
very  much  interested. 

Riess:     And  meditation  is  part  of  your  life? 

Caldwell:   It  was  for  a  while.   And  it  would  probably  do  me  good  if  it  were 
to  become  a  part  of  it  again. 

Riess:     These  bookcases  [in  foyer]  were  here? 

Caldwell:   These  were  here.   This  room  was  added,  not  by  us,  but  this  is 
the  way  the  house  was  when  we  bought  it.   Somebody  who  loved 
flowers  did  it- -you' 11  notice  there  is  a  drain  here  for  water. 
And  I  understand  there  was  a  fountain  over  in  the  wall;  behind 
that  bench  there's  a  place  in  the  wall  you  can  see  there  was 
some  kind  of  opening. 

These  [bronze]  reliefs  of  Mother  and  Pops  you  might  be 
interested  in.   This  one  [of  Mother]  was  done  by  Stackpole.   And 
this  one  of  Pops  [1896]  was  by  a  famous  artist.   Olin  Warner  was 
his  name. 


Caldwell:   [At  bookcase]  This  is  inscribed  "For  James  Caldwell,  in  memory 
of  a  delightful  afternoon  last  year,"  Robinson  Jeffers,  Tor 
House  [1927]. 

Riess:     What  will  you  do  with  these  Jeffers  books? 

Caldwell:   I  don't  know.   What  shall  I  do  with  the  inscribed  books? 

Riess:     "Dear  Sara,  I'll  be  happy  and  deeply  moved  to  visit  The  Cats 
again  and  to  see  you  and  the  Mathiases , "  Robinson  Jeffers . 

Caldwell:  Here  are  Jim's  own  notes  on  T.S.  Eliot.  He  was  crazy  about  T.S. 


Riess:     From  Genevieve  Taggard:  "To  Kay  Field,  who  helped  with  the 

title,  this  book,  written  for  her  generation  more  than  for  any 
other  person,  'For  Eager  Lovers.'"   1922. 

How  did  you  help  with  the  title? 
Caldwell:   I  don't  remember. 

Pops  loved  these  nicely-bound  books.   He  would  have  them 
bound  by  a  woman  named  Caro  Veir  Ealy,  who  was  a  daughter  of 
Julian  Aulin  Weir,  the  painter.   He  was  so  extravagant. 

Riess:     "Sara,  dear,  you  first  made  me  appreciate  Whit  tier  as  the  true 

poet  of  New  England,  not  an  imitation  of  old  England,  but  in  his 
benign  Quakerish  way  original,  as  was  that  other  Quaker,  Walt 
Whitman."  That's  1926. 

Here  is  Sara:  "Erskine,  dearest,  in  exactly  as  true  a  sense 
as  I  am  mother  of  this  little  book  you  are  father  of  it,  and  to 
you  the  book,  as  well  as  my  life  and  love,  is  wholly  dedicated," 
Sara  Bard  Field,  Christmas  1925. 

Caldwell:   This  is  my  mother's  "Vintage  Festival."  That's  been  terribly 

downgraded  from  a  literary  point  of  view  as  too  sentimental.   It 
makes  me  feel  badly  because  1  like  it  so  much.   It  is  about  St. 

Riess:     Here  is  one:  "To  our  darling  daughter  Katherine  Field  to 

celebrate  the  summer  vacation  and  her  coming  to  us.  Binding 
from  me,  Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood,  her  Pops,  book  from  her 
adorable,  and  adored  mother,  Sara  Bard  Field- -see  next  page." 

Caldwell:   He  was  a  great  dedicator.   I  was  always  astounded  at  how  anybody 
could  think  of  some  unusual  thing  to  say. 

Riess:     Here  is  one:  An  Oscar  Wilde,  "The  Happy  Prince."  Dedicated  "To 
Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood,  husband,  comrade,  critic,  who  has 
opened  'the  new  heaven  and  the  new  earth,'  this  precious  relic 
of  my  childhood  bound  by  his  dear  friend's  daughter,  and  finally 
with  his  consent  to  be  given  to  Kay,  our  daughter,"  Sara  Bard 
Field,  Christmas  1923. 

Caldwell:  You  can  see  why  I  have  these  in  a  special  case. 

Riess:     [Reading  into  tape  recorder]  Here  is  a  book  dedicated  to  "My 
dear  boy,  Albert  Field  Ehrgott,"  Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood, 
June  20,  1917.  And  then,  further,  "My  darling  daughter  Kay,  no 
copy  of  my  book  I  could  give  you  would  be  so  valuable  as  this 
one  I  gave  to  our  beautiful  winged  Albert,"  Pops,  July  20,  1920. 


It  Is  "A  Mask  of  Love"  by  Charles  Erskine  Scott  Wood  published 
by  Walter  M.  Hill,  Chicago  1904. 

And  another,  "Sonnets  to  Sappho."   "Dedicated  to  the  onlie 
begetter  of  these  insuing  sonnets,  SBF,  wife,  lover,  companion,' 

Transcribed  and  final  typed  by:  Shannon  Page 


APPENDICES --Katherine  Field  Caldwell 

A.  "Remembering  the  1923  Fire,"  from  Hillside  Neighborhood 

Newsletter.  1992.  242 

B.  "An  American  Patron,  Albert  Bender  of  San  Francisco,"  by 

Katherine  Field  Caldwell,  American  Federation  of  Arts  Magazine 

of  Art.  August  1938.  243 

C.  "Guidebook  to  Sexy  Sculpturing,"  by  Ralph  Craib,  San  Francisco 

Chronicle.  June  26,  1964.  249 

D.  "From  Winckelmann  to  Warburg,  Art  History  at  Mills,"  by  Mary 

Manning  Wale,  Mills  Magazine.  May- June  1972.  250 

E.  "Farewell  to  Katherine  Caldwell,"  by  Nancy  Thompson  Price,  Mills 

Quarterly.  May  1971.  255 

F.  "Afterword"  by  Katherine  Field  Caldwell,  Sara  Bard  Field.  Poet  and 

Suffragist.  The  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  The  Bancroft 

Library,  UC  Berkeley,  1979.  256 


Appendix  A 

REMEMBERING  THE  1923  FIRE        by  Katherine  Caldwell 

(in  Options  for  Hillside,  neighborhood  newsletter,  number  two,  September  1992) 

The  1923  Berkeley  fire  swept  down  upon  North  Berkeley 
with  the  same  sudden  fury  of  the  recent  devastating 
Oakland-Berkeley  blaze.  It  had  been  burning  for  two 
days  in  the  Contra  Costa  hills,  then  barren  of  houses, 
ignored  by  the  Berkeley  fire  department,  which  claimed 
that  a  fire  in  another  county  was  not  their  responsibility. 
But  inevitably  it  reached  North  Berkeley.  Igniting  a 
frame  house  on  upper  Buena  Vista,  above  which  were  the 
dry,  grassy  slopes  of  the  Berkeley  hills,  the  fire  spread 
rapidly  to  what  is  now  the  Hillside  school  area.  The 
relentless  north  wind  made  kindling  of  the  dry  wooden 
shingles.  Sparks  flew  from  one  house  roof  to  another  in 
an  endless  chain,  and,  since  the  water  supply  had  given 
out  early  on,  hosing  down  the  roofs  was  impossible.  The 
flames,  however,  were  bidden  by  thick  clouds  of  black 
smoke  that  obscured  the  closeness  of  the  danger  and  the 
urgency  of  quick  evacuation. 

Everyone  sensed  the  eventual  destruction  of  his  home  but 
felt  a  state  of  paralysis  when  it  came  to  making  wise 
choices  for  salvaging  his  belongings.  My  father, 
appropriate  to  his  duty  as  clergyman,  gave  help  to 
distraught  mothers  who  were  frantically  trying  to  round 
up  their  children  and  persuaded  an  elderly  handicapped 
neighbor  to  be  removed  from  her  house  (she  steadfastly 
affirmed  that  God  would  protect  her  from  the  flames). 
For  my  own  part,  suddenly  aware  of  the  imminent  danger, 
I  grabbed  my  small  wirehaired  terrier  and  a  beautifully 
bound  set  of  Shakespeare  and  dragged  a  Chinese  rug  out 
of  our  threatened  bouse.  By  this  time  scores  of  sightseers 
were  driving  along  LeRoy  Avenue,  few,  alas,  offering 
help.  However,  a  Catholic  priest  obligingly  took  the 
Shakespeare  and  the  rug  for  safe-keeping.  If  only  others 
had  been  as  compassionate! 

By  this  time  our  house  had  caught  fire,  and  my  father 
shouted  to  me  to  run  to  the  car  before  it  burned  in  the 
street.  Hardly  seated  in  the  car,  we  saw  our  bouse,  a  three 

story  Berkeley  redwood,  consumed  by  flames  like  a  box 
thrown  into  a  bonfire.  As  we  moved  down  the  hill  we 
saw  burning  cars  as  well  as  an  occasional  piano  dragged 
into  the  open  in  a  desperate  attempt  to  save  it  from 

There  were  many  offers  of  hospitality  in  Berkeley,  but  I 
chose  to  go  to  San  Francisco,  where  my  mother  lived  on 
Russian  Hill.  I  was  sixteen  and  possessed  a  driver's 
license — routine  for  sixteen  year  olds  today,  but  a  rarity 
in  1923.  I  had  parked  my  mother's  car  in  a  downtown 
garage  and,  needing  gas,  beaded  for  a  station.  To  my 
dismay,  I  discovered  that  in  the  excitement  of  escape  I 
had  left  my  purse  in  the  1553  LeRoy  house!  I  explained 
to  the  station  owner  that  my  house,  including  purse,  had 
just  burned  and  asked  if  be  would  trust  me  for  five  gallons 
of  gas.  "Of  course,  lady,"  be  said  with  reassuring 
emphasis,  "I'll  fill  your  tank!"  When  I  reached  the  auto 
ferry  I  found  the  same  generous  response  to  my  empty 
pockets.  "Come  right  on  board,"  the  deckhand  called  out. 
And  it  was  not  until  the  boat  had  left  shore  and  I  looked 
back  at  the  great  stretch  of  houseless,  blackened  land  still 
sending  pillars  of  smoke  into  the  sky  that  I  realized  the 
scope  of  the  damage. 

Before  the  1923  fire  the  Hillside  School  area,  as  today, 
was  a  friendly  place.  The  unifying  focus  of  the 
neighborhood  was  a  firehouse  located  at  the  southeast  end 
of  the  present  school  building.  The  firemen  were  our 
dependable  friends.  They  welcomed  and  amused  children 
and  would  willingly  bring  a  ladder  to  a  second  story 
window,  crawl  through  the  window,  and  admit  a  keyless 
owner  into  his  house. 

The  desire  for  a  unifying  center  prevails  today,  expressed 
in  the  efforts  of  Options  for  Hillside  to  retain  the  Hillside 
playground  as  a  community  asset.  Even  the  effort  to 
achieve  this  end  strengthens  neighborhood  unification. 

•  tear  off- 

Options  for  Hillside,  P.O.  Box  9336,  Berkeley,  CA  94709.  Telephone  486-0414. 

I  would  like  to  help: 

I  enclose  a  donation  to  support  your  efforts:    $ 





Appendix  B 


F.  A.  WHITING.  JR..  Editor  .  .  .  JANE  WATSON.  AM»UIU  Editor 
L.  B.  HOUFF.  JR..  Buainea*  Manager  .  HARRY  ROBERTS.  JR.,  Art  Director 



AUGUST,  1938 

Maurice  Slcrnc:  "Scaled  Girl,"  Bali,  1914.  Drawing  ............  G»rr 

In  the  Brndrr  Collection,  San  Franciscv  .Museum  of  An 

KiUard  VlrMon:  Pliolograpli  of  Alborl  Bonder 


An  Ami'riran  I'alron.  Wv  Halhrrinf  Firlil  O/MiiW/  .............  -HI 

AlloTl  Hfinlrr  <>j  Stin  h'rniirisro 

Varhrl  l.imUin  :  l'<-n  anil  Ink  SyiiUilim.  Bv  TMma  tt  ilm  7'Winpr  .   .  .  I.VI 

\»lr*  for  v  Sluilv  <>f  \rrliilcclnrc.  Wv  Hmr\  .S.  Cliun^ill  .........  157 

lll<M-li  anil  Nonlfcl.ll:  A  Slml>  in  Conlrasl*.  Hy  ff  nllurr  S.  ttaUiniyr  .  .  4.S« 

Thralrr  and  (;<-opra|ili>.  Hy  Hiillic  Hnnnisin  ................  -Mil 

Tin-  hvlirul  Thmlre  I'nijrrt'  *  I'rmmt  unit  t'ulurr 

Cirrus  anil  Kinp*iili-  in  (lie  I  Jlliopraphft  of  KO|MT|  Kigps.  Hy  Oiilili-  Hnrr  40«*  Divign:  \  Nrn   I'rofrwion.  Hy  Euprur  Sdnii-n  ..........  472 

V-li\iH   .....................................  W} 

,\ru-x  nf  h'tvlinilinn  Cha/Hcrx  mill  the  Srnrnl  .4rt.< 

A  \iiliiniiil  Lift 





P«i»e  included  in  tlir  United  Slale*  and  pouc«ioni.  Cin.di.n  po»ti|t  50  cent*  *»tr».  and  10  rorrign  rounirin,  11.00  riin.  Thr  ft •g»inr 
i. m.iled  to .11  ch.piCT..nd  member.. .  p.rt of «ch  .nnu.lfe*  bcin| ;credit«d ...«ib*rripiion.  Entered.. •eeond^l.Mni.iler  October  4.  1921. 
•I  iKf  Poti  O(Rc»  it  W**hin(ion,  D.  C.  «nd  it  the  Pott  Offic*  *t  Billimore,  Md.,  under  th»  MI  of  March  3,  1879.  Title  Trade  Mark  Reg «- 
lend  in  the  L1  S  Patent  Office.  Copyright  19S8  by  The  American  Federation  of  Aru.  All  righu  rawed.  All  manuaeriptt  abould  be  aeot  to 
the  Editor  Maiaiine  of  An.  Barr  Building,  Waabinglon,  D.  C.  Unaolicited  manunripn  ahould  be  aeconpanied  by  alamped.  aelf-addreaaed 
eaveiopo.'to  in.ure  return  in  caae  m.ieri.l  n  not  uaed.  The  Editor*  cannot  aieume  reaponaibility  for  the  return  of  any  unaoliciled,  material. 




IT  IS  an  axiom  in  San  Francisco  that  all  art  activities  lead 
lo  Albert  Bender's  door.  For  a  quarter  of  a  century  his  emi 
nence  ai  a  benefactor  hat  been  a«  familiar  at  the  physical  at- 
Heclt  of  the  city:  ita  ferry  tower,  the  jerking  cable  cart  climb 
ing  perpendicular  hills,  the  ocean  grown  more  intimate  in  the 
narrow  channel  of  the  Golden  Gate.  Unlike  the  landmarks  of 
the  city,  Mr.  Bender  bat  never  been  taken  for  granted.  He  has 
received  official  recognition  in  the  form  of  honorary  degrees 
from  every  important  educational  inttitution  in  the  commu 
nity  and  unofficial  acclaim  from  the  hundreds  whom  he  has 
bene6ted  and  the  many  more  who  consider  him  a  focus  of  the 
culture  of  his  city.  Mr.  Bender's  generosity  has  won  him  de 
voted  love  and  admiration — it  has  even  given  him  a  somewhat 
legendary  reputation.  But  its  deeper  social  imj>ort.  the  mass 
effect  of  his  giving,  has  been  obscured  b\  concentration  on  in 
dividual  instances  of  it.  There  is  a  growing  awareness  that  the 
bestowing  of  gifts,  however  commendable  in  itself,  is  the  small 
est  part  of  his  significance.  From  his  stead  \  <>u  I  (touring  of 
gifts  definite  principles  become  discernible  which  pro>c  him 
to  be  a  unique  national  force  in  the  world  of  art. 

Mr.  Bender  believes  that  the  best  way  to  further  art  is  to 
support  living  artists,  especially  those  near  at  band.  He  does 
not  imply  that  the  art  produced  today  is  the  only  and  the 
final  beauty.  On  the  contrary  he  considers  historical  collec 
tions  of  great  importance.  But  he  fears  that  too  great  concern 
over  preserving  the  past  might  cause  the  death  of  contempo 
rary  art.  He  recognizes  that  the  artist  has  something  valuable 
to  contribute  to  contemporary  life  and  is  entitled  to  earn  a 
living  by  means  of  his  art.  This  may  seem  at  first  glance  an 
accepted  commonplace.  But  if  it  is,  society  bas  been  slow  to 
act  upon  it.  On  the  whole,  artists  have  been  treated  as  though 
thcv  were  erratic  children,  or  visionary  and  incompetent  ones, 
leaning  on  their  "stronger"  brothers  in  trade.  Mr.  Bender's 
distinction  lies  in  acting  upon  his  belief  in  the  importance  of 
contemj>orar\  artists  and  their  right  to  live  by  their  art.  He 
does  not  await  a  Golden  Age;  he  helps  to  bring  it  about. 

Long  before  the  government  acknowledged  the  legitimate 
claim  of  the  artist  to  eat  by  his  brush  or  pen,  San  Francisco 
artists  knew  that  tlirx  could  rclv  ii|mn  Mr.  Bender  to  sup|K>rt 
them  in  this  claim.  The  needs  that  his  tireless  understanding 
and  bounty  have  supplied  are  varied:  the  raw  materials  them- 

Thr  Anne  Brenur  Memorial  Librarf  founded  b\  Albert  Bender  in  1935  at  ihr  California  School  of  Fine  Arts.  The  relief  over  the  man  - 
lei  u  fry  Jacques  Schnier;  the  three  lunettes  shotting  motl  clearly  contain  f rescues  b\  I  icior  Arnauliiff.  Bath  artists  uwk  in  California 


•dye* — paint,  canvas,  day,  •  place  to  work;  support  through 
illness,  opportunity  to  itudy  glares  in  Korea,  for  example,  or 
to  tee  the  galleries  of  Europe  and  America.  Whererer  possible 
thii  help  hat  been  proffered  by  the  purchase  of  product*,  rare 
ly  by  the  humiliation  of  outright  gift.  And  this  reaolve  to  pre- 
Mrre  the  artist's  integrity  it  looked  upon  by  artists  tbem- 
aelve*  at  an  important  part  of  Mr.  Bender't  dittinctive  style 
of  patronage. 

The  proportion  of  hit  giftt  to  hit  income  it  no  lett  remark 
able  than  Mr.  Bender't  active  appreciation  of  living  artitu. 
It  it  the  attonithing  fact  that  ninety  per  cent  of  Mr.  Bender't 
income  goet  back  to  the  community'!  charitable,  educational 
and  creative  ventures.  Hit  own  personal  wants  are  very  simple; 
once  they  are  supplied  he  gives  everything  he  has  away.  For  a 
man  who  has  achieved  outstanding  success  in  business,  who 
hat  collected  thousands  of  objects  from  ancient  Japanese  pot 
tery  to  contemporary  Mexican  painting,  Mr.  Bender  it 
singularly  unattached  to  material  things.  Once  an  object 
pastes  into  hit  hands  hr  is  not  content  until  it  becomet  the 
possession  of  an  institution  where  it  may  be  enjoyed  in  com 
mon.  An  object  may  truly  be  said  nol  to  !><•  his  until  it  has 
runic  into  ihr  keeping  of  another. 

The  Far  V  est  had  special  need  of  a  man  to  whom  gold  was 
not  a  final  good.  It  if.  natural  that  California  should  chortxh  it* 

frontier  tradition,  especially  its  romantic  gold-rush  past.  This 
past  is  not  very  remote  and  the  frontier  tradition  coincides 
with  our  American  love  for  physical  accomplithmentt  on  a 
Urge  scale.  There  it  a  lingering  feeling  that  we  mutt  "push  on" 
to  bigger  buildings,  highways,  bridges.  In  the  face  of  this  con 
centration  on  physical  achievement  the  arts  had  particular 
need  of  encouragement.  Albert  Bender  realized  that  there 
were  frontiers  of  the  spirit  to  be  cultivated  as  well  as  those  of 
the  land.  In  a  tribute  to  his  friend  Senator  Phelan,  Mr.  Ben 
der  ascribed  to  him  the  "vision  of  a  future  in  which  apprecia 
tion  of  the  Fine  Arts  is  to  keep  pace  with  material  prosperity." 
There  could  be  no  clearer  statement  of  his  own  self-imposed 

Certain  strong  influences  shaped  this  theory  of  patronage. 
For  one,  a  clerical  father,  learned  in  the  Irish  poets  at  well  at 
in  theology.  But  even  more  important  wat  the  companionship 
over  a  long  period  of  years  with  his  talented  coutiu.  Anne 
Bremcr.  to  whom,  a*  Mr.  Keniler  wrote.  "  ....  a  world 
without  art  wan  a  liarren  place  from  which  the  soul  of  man  had 
departed."  Association  with  a  (taintcr  who  nol  only  knew  but 
saw  was  a  rare  o|i|K>rliinity  for  education  in  the  arl*.  Hi-  in- 
trrrol  in  Mill-  College  was  a  trilnilc  to  In T  a-  a  |M*r*oii  and  to 
the  education  of  women  in  general.  In  lliii-  tililr*l  college  for 
women  in  llir  r  ar  \\  ml.  he  find*  and  fiwtrr*  a  liroad  r<mcc|(- 

Karl  Hofrr'i  "TTir  Card  Plavtrt"  in  the  Bender  Collection  of  the  Son  Fmnrism  Miitrtim  of  Art.  Thin  i«  bm  one  of  monv  gifu 


"Requiem,*"  lilnHftninh  IIY  June  Clement?  Orusru.  in  the  Header  Ctiiletiiitn  nl  the  Stin  fniariaru  Museum  of  Art 

lion  ofrulturr  which  accepts  the  arts  as  an  essential  par!  of  a 
balanced  education.  Hut  Mr.  Bender's  lcni|>craincnl  does  not 
es|H>uhe  causes  or  crusades.  Tlir  aura  he  creates  anmnil  liiin  is 
harmonious  genial.  He  acls  habitually  to  meet  a  nerd  in  a 
given  situation  and  il  is  from  tlic  total  sum  of  them-  acts  thai 
a  principle  emerges. 

Tin'  Bender  room  in  llir  Mills  (lollege  library  concentrates 
chiefly  ii|M>n  modern  lilrraliirr  anil  flni'  printing.  Kor  conlinu- 
il\  ami  contrast  some  older  ilrms  arc  included.  Then-  in  a 
manuscript  of  Kli/.ahcth  Browning,  a  Ifllrr  in  Dickens'  hand, 
an  rarl\  edition  of  Hum-.  In  fine  priming  r\er\  ini|M>rlanl 
press  from  Kclm-coit  In  (>ral>lnirn  is  represented  anil  in  (Cal 
ifornia  tlirrr  arr  ]naMiiMTi|M  -  from  Hrrl  llarlr  til  Uoltin-ou 
JrfTrrs.  Mr.  HrmliT's  riiilin-ia-in  fur  lilcralurc  anil  line  print 
ing  fills  the  thrhrs  of  llir  Sianlnnl  anil  I  Mi\cr-ilx  of  Califor 
nia  libraries  as  well. 

Hit  name  run-  llirougli  lltr  paniplili'ls  railed  "Gifts  to  llir 
RegrntR  of  tin  I  ni\  \  of  (California"  lil>r  llir  dominanl 
thread  in  a  patterned  clntli.  It  is ras\  lo  infrr  liis  rrad\  •cqui- 
currnre  to  rarli  need  suggested  to  him.  Me  I  \teni  tlie  \rars  1920 
and  1938  there  arc  reeorded  itrms  like  llirw:  a  donation  "lo 
defray  expenses  of  exhibiting  a  group  of  Iwrnl  \  -fivr  represen 
tative  landH-a|>e  painters  of  California:  also  to  the  art  depart 
ment  to  purchase  three  portfolios  of  reproductions  of  draw 
ings  by  Leonardo  da  Vinci,  Holbein  and  VI  atleau;"  a  sum  of 
money  "to  a  professor  of  art  to  purchase  art  materials  during 
•  visit  to  Japan,  for  the  University  of  California  art  museum, 
for  the  establishment  of  a  |>oetr>  prize,  for  the  purchase  of  one 

hundred  and  fifty  original  drawings  li\  (',.  K.  Chrslerlon,  for 
one  of  Ililaire  llrllor's  books,  for  the  purchase  of  Kussian 
ikons,  for  the  purchase  of  material  lo  lie  used  in  setting  a 
mural  on  the  wall  of  the  art  gallery,  eighteen  pieces  of  Guate 
malan  textile*  representing  various  weaves.*' 

Although  Mr.  (tender's  interest  cannot  lie  narrowed  into 
our  channel  the  trend  of  his  giving  identifies  him  cs|K*ciall\ 
with  artist-.  Among  his  most  notable  gifts  are  the  memorial 
funds  established  at  the  California  School  of  r  me  Arts;  one 
for  talented  and  iiii|xfiinii>iis  sludenls.  another  for  the  library . 
The  inspiration  of  Anne  Itrcnier  was  again  determinate.  She 
had  studied  al  the  School  Itrforc  going  to  I'aris.  graduating 
with  the  highest  honors.  In  founding  the  Anne  lircmcr  Me 
morial  I  nnil  for  desiT\  ing  students,  Mr.  (tender  won  main 
new  friends  for  art  in  San  Kranciiw-o  by  persuading  others  lo 
•dd  lo  the  substantial  sum  that  he  himself  set  aside.  On  re- 
|K-aled  occasions  he  has  formed  "clusters"  of  art  patrons.  No 
one  can  rrfusr  him  liecause  of  his  evident  disinlcreflcdncss 
and  unreserved  giving.  A  punning  friend  remarked  after  con 
tributing  lo  one  of  his  projects  "Allirrl  Mender  is  the  dearest 
friend  I  have." 

With  a  group  of  friends  Mr.  Mender  answered  the  pressing 
need  of  the  School  by  founding  the  Anne  Kremer  Library. 
Since  the  library  ie  for  the  use  of  practicing  students  books  arr 
chosen  primarily  from  the  standpoint  of  technique  and  ex 
cellence  of  reproduction.  In  order  that  the  library  might  have 
some  fresher  link  with  contemporary  art  than  textbook  illus 
tration.  Mr.  Bender  commissioned  Victor  ArnautofT.  Kalph 


W  iUuuniffto,a  naUveSan  tran- 
CMOon,  painted  "What  Ckry»~ 
anthenuuta,"  note  in  the  Bender 
Collection  at  the  San  Frandtco 
Museum  of  Art.  Mr.  Bender*  i 
chief  interttt  it  in  tht  artitu  of 
hit  own  orv  and  hit  oun  region 

"Two  W'unirn  anil  ii  ChiliF'  ( If 26).  mniuxlir  /mini  in  ft  In-  Difftit  Kir- 
era.  Bendrr  GV/or*i«n.  Ctilifirniii   1'nlitcr  iif  tin-  Is-piim   »/  Honor 

Slark|K>lr,  Ka\  |{<i\nlon.  William  llrsiliil.  Gordon  I  jngHon 
•  ml  KrrH  OlmHraH— all  San  Franri*co  artido — to  paint  frri-- 
••nrfi  in  tin-  liinritr-  In-low  tin-  ceiling.  Over  llir  firrjilarr  a 
plaque  l>\  Jarqurs  Schnirr  l>rars  the  inMTiption  of  ihr  dale  of 
I  In  formal  ilriln  anon  of  tlir  lil>rar\. 

Miliuupli  Mr.  KnulrrV  pifi*  i<>  the  San  Kranriiwo  Art  Ao- 
MM-ialion  wrrc  alrrail\  grm-ron-  scliolirxhips,  librarx  and 
IxH.ks — Mr.  lii-ruli-r  alto  gavr  a  itorir*  of  drawings  of  hand*  liv 
Dirgo  Kivrra.  lli»  intrrral  in  Rivera  goo*  bark  lo  1929  whrn  a 
group  of  San  Franrioco  artiftt*  rrlurncd  from  Mexico  with  thr 
new»  of  a  flourishing  art  rrnaiuancc.  Mr.  HrnHrr  wa*  favor 
ably  di»|n*rd  from  thr  firrt  toward*  a  man  whow>  influlnrr  on 
thr  nirilimli.  and  tubjrrt  maltrr  of  conlrm|>orarv  arliitii  was 
•o  profound.  Months  brforr  Kivrra '»  fame  spread  likr  a  frvrr 
acrow  thr  country  Mr.  Brndcr  bought  his  oils  anddrawingR. 
Hewasonrof  thr  first  In  mm  inAmrrica  toapprrciatr  Rivrra 
and  gi\r  him  rnthusiMtir  tupport  during  his  stay  in  San 

Whrn  thr  first  onr-man  show  of  Rivera's  work  was  hrld  at 
the  California  Palarr  of  thr  Lrgion  of  Honor  in  San  Francisco 
in  1930.  Mr.  Brndrr  supplird  a  numbrr  of  thr  itrm*  from  his 


own  collection.  Some  of  tbe«e  remained  *«  permanent  gift*  to 
the  Muteum. 

Besides  contemporary  paintings,  European  textile*,  print* 
and  sculpture*,  Mr.  Bender  hat  given  the  California  Palace  of 
the  Legion  of  Honor  and  the  De  Young  Memorial  Mu»eum  a 
number  of  Oriental  object*.  Outstanding  among  thece  is  a 
group  of  Han  mortuary  figure*  and  a  distinguished  group  of 
prehistoric  Japanese  pottery  including  Minu,  Yamato  and 
Yayoi  type*.  Hi*  interest  in  Oriental  culture  derive*  from  the 
early  day*  of  hi*  career  in  San  Francisco  when  he  won  not  only 
the  bu*ine*c  but  the  friendship  of  the  Chinese  population. 

Mr.  Bender  combine*  fidelity  to  familiar  venture*  with  zest 
for  new  one*.  Hi*  enthusiasm,  once  engaged,  may  be  counted 
upon  to  be  permanent.  Yet  he  it  none  the  le*s  eager  to  en 
courage  new  growth.  ^  lien  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art 
opened  in  1935  Albert  Bender  welcomed  a  gallery  devoted  ex- 
pretsh  to  exhibiting  and  explaining  rontcni]torar\  art.  Noth 
ing  supplemented  more  completely  hi-  long  patronage  of 
arn-ir  tlmi  <  gallon  for  the  interchange  of  ideas  between 
artisl  anil  public.  For  whatever  his  philosophical  persuasion, 
the  artist  .!.»•-  not  work  to  decorate  his  own  sluilio  walls. 

During  llii'  three  v ears  of  I  he  existence  of  llie  San  Francisco 
Mii-eiim  nl  \rl.  Mr.  Hcinler  has  pi\en  scores  of  olijcvt>  to  (he 

Museum's  permanent  collection,  provided  the  mean*  for  pur 
chase  fund*,  and  kept  himself  available  for  the  frequent  emer 
gencies  that  arise  in  the  life  of  a  new  institution.  Works  by 
western  artists,  especially  of  those  in  and  near  San  Francisco, 
form  the  nucleus  of  the  Bender  Collection.  To  the  California 
group,  however,  Mr.  Bender  has  added  many  others.  Maurice 
Sterne  (an  adopted  San  Franciscan)  it  represented  by  a  num 
ber  of  drawing*  from  1910  to  the  present  day,  and  by  two  can 
vases:  Sleeping  Girl  and  Praying  Girl  in  the  Ganga.  The 
Mexican  group  includes  The  Flouer  Vendor,  painted  by  Rivera 
at  the  request  of  Albert  Bender,  Martinez,  Montenegro,  Char- 
lot  and  Merida.  There  are  excellent  examples  of  the  work  of 
Alexander  Brook,  Edward  Bruce,  Boris  Deutsch  and  of  Karl 
Hofer.  Betide  containing  every  well  known  American  name, 
the  print  collection  includes  Cezanne,  Gauguin,  Pissarro,  Ren 
oir,  Matisse,  Picasso  and  Brouet. 

Although  Mr.  Bender  is  manifestly  concerned  with  the  ac 
cumulation  of  things  of  worth,  hr  has  never  looked  upon  thr 
acquiring  of  works  of  art  as  his  essential  purjiosc.  There  is  a 
deeper  impulse  motivating  all  he  so  tirclcsslv  does — his  de 
votion  to  the  living  arlisl.  his  almost  complete  dedication  of 
his  income  to  Inning  and  giving.  lit  his  own  word.  Mr.  Men 
der  collects  not  arl.  hul  human  beings. 

1'n-hislitric  Juimnme  I'utltry.  ")«vW"  /V/M>.  Ill  the  liciidrr  Oilhviioti  uf  thr  M.  II.  rfc  )<Hiiift  M<morinl  Miisnini,  San  r'nincixni 


San  Francisco  Chronicle.  6/26/64 

Boise,   a   shaggily-bearded  | 
Individualist,  works  with  '50  ; 
aod    '51   Ford   fenders  and 
bumpers,  among  other  things, 
to  create  busts  and  figures. 
What  some  of  the  figures  are 
doing  upset  the  police  and 
prompted  the  arrests. 

His  inspiration,  the  Kama 
Sutra,  and  temples  depicting 
its  writings,  emerged  in  Mrs. 
CaldweU's  testimony  as  sort 
of  massive  compendiums  of 
the  seemingly  endless  ways 
in  which  two  people  can  share 
intimacies,  a  how -to -do -it 
physicaliology  text. 

Preceding  Mrs.  Caldwell  to 
the  stand  was  Professor  Wal 
ter  Horn,  University  of  Cali 
fornia  art  historian,  who  was 
engaged  by  Deputy  District 
Attorney  Luther  Goodwin  in 
lengthy  interrogation  intend 
ed  to  answer  one  of  man's 
age-old  questions:  What  is 

Professor  and  prosecutor 
reached  no  conclusions. 


But  Dr.  Horn  did  pronounce  ; 
Boise's   male   and   female 
figures  to  be  art  and  very; 
good  art  indeed.  "Gentle  and 
warm  and  done  in  great  sym- 
pathy  and  tenderness,"  he 

Artist  Boise's  elation  at  the 
testimony  was  short  •  lived. 
Two  arms  grabbed  his  at  the 
end  of  the  court  day  and  he 
was  hustled  up  to  the  city  j 
prison  for  failing  to  take  care 
of  a  $28  ticket  for  having  a 
defective  windshield. 

The  art  trial  continues  to 

An  art  lecturer 

To  Sexy 

By  Ralph   Craib 

That  summer  session 
course  on  the  history  and 
appreciation  of  art — San 
Francisco's  obscene  statue 
trial — p roceeded  to  the 
consideration  of  some 
crumbling  ancient  Indian 
temples  and  age-old  Indian 
philosophies  yesterday. 

And  the  jurors  learned  that 
the  Kama  Sutra,  the  inspira 
tion  of  the  controversial  stat 
uary,  is  "to  the  Indians,  say, 
what  a  medical  book  on  ideal 
family  life  would  be  in  our 
own  culture." 

The  definition  came  from 
Katherine  Caldwell,  Mills  Col 
lege  lecturer  on  Oriental  art. 

Mrs.  Caldwell.  a  sprightly 
Bttle  sparrow  of  a  woman, 
was  called  as  a  defense  wit 
ness  for  Michael  Muldoon 
Elder,  24,  and  Michael  Staf 
ford,  24,  charged  with  ob 
scenity  because  they  offered 
for  sale  some  works  of  sculp 
tor  Ron  Boise. 

Appendix  C 
Sculpture  Trial 

Jim  was  on  the  ACLU  Board,  and 
when  the  case  came  up  he 
suggested  that  I,  as  an  art 
historian,  should  be  one  of 
the  witnesses  for  the  defense. 
The  situation  was  that  the 
City  of  San  Francisco  police 
department  arrested  the 
gallery  owner,  showing  the 
sculptures  [inspired  by  the 
Kama  Sutra] ,  on  charges  of 
obscenity.  On  my  day  in  court 
I  brought  photographs  for  the 
public  and  jurors  to  see,  of 
art  of  a  sexual  nature .   And 
Professor  Valter  Horn,  another 
of  the  witnesses,  explained 
how  important  the  depiction  of 
love  in  art  is.   I  remember 
five  women  on  the  Jury  wore 
dark  glasses,  in  this  rather 
dim  courtroom,  to  avoid  being 
seen  to  look  directly  at  the 
sculpture.   Really,  it  was  all 
quite  a  sensation  at  the  time, 
and  the  Chronicle  had  it  on 
the  front  page.   In  fact,  they 
said  if  you  wanted  a  free 
course  in  art  history  you 
should  attend  the  trial!   The 
outcome  was  a  complete  victory 
for  the  artist,  and  the 
gallery  owner.   But  I  was  very 
nervous  about  testifying,  and 
I  remember  Valter  Horn  treated 
me  to  a  filet  mignon 
beforehand,  I  suppose  to 
strengthen  me  or  something. 
The  third  witness,  I  have 
forgotten  his  name ,  but  I  know 
that  Thomas  Carr  Howe  refused 
to  be  a  witness  because  he 
said  he  felt  it  would  offend 
his  trustees!   I  also  remember 
that  beforehand,  after  I  read 
the  Kama  Sutra,  because  I 
didn't  know  that  much  about 
Indian  art  I  went  to  consult 
with  a  professor  at  Cal  who 
explained  what  the  Kama  Sutra 
meant  in  its  day.  [KFC] 


Appendix  D 


by  Mary  Manning  Wale 

Thirty-five  yean  ago,  wishing  to  pursue  on 
the  graduate  level  my  interest  in  art  history,  I 
enrolled  in  a  Summer  Session  program  at  Mills. 
Dr.  Neumeyer  was  collaborating  with  William 
Suhr  of  the  Detroit  Institute  of  Fine  Arts  on  a 
study  of  the  techniques  of  painting,  and  the  ma 
terial  covered  ranged  from  the  methods  used  by 
the  ancients  to  those  employed  by  Titian  dur 
ing  his  long  lifetime.  It  was  the  stimulation  and 
fascination  of  that  summer's  study  which  led  me 
to  work  for  my  Master's  degree  at  Mills. 

Newly  come  to  the  West  Coast,  I  had  visited 
the  University  of  California  and  found  to  my 
disappointment  that  ihc  discipline  of  art  history 
as  I  had  known  it  at  Welleslcy  was  missing.  At 
that  time  courses  in  art  appreciation  and 
aesthetics  were  the  closest  approach  to  the  sub 
ject  in  which  I  had  received  my  B.A.  At  Mills, 
however,  an  orderly  sequence  of  courses  in  both 
Oriental  and  European  art  was  available;  gradu 
ate  seminars,  a  course  in  museum  training,  and 
work  on  a  Master's  thesis  were  offered.  The 
materials  were  what  I  wanted,  and  the  approach 
was  the  one  with  which  I  was  familiar.  How  did 
this  situation  occur  at  Mills,  a  small  Western 
college  for  women? 

First,  perhaps,  because  it  was  a  bit  of  trans 
planted  New  England.  On  studying  the  early 
catalogues,  one  finds  a  long  tradition  of  art  his 
tory  as  pan  of  the  curriculum,  dating  back  to 
1 875,  and  listed  as  a  requirement  for  graduation 
until  1916.  The  influence  here,  one  ventures  to 
guess,  is  through  Ml.  Holyoke,  Almn  Mater  of 
Mrs.  Mills,  and  supplier  of  a  succession  of  teach 
ers  for  Mills. 

In  1 874  the  first  lectures  in  art  were  given  at 
Mt.  Holyoke.  Standard  courses  in  art  history 
were  developed  as  time  went  on,  with  the  sub 
ject  a  required  one  for  seniors.  Mt.  Holyoke 
thus  seemed  to  be  following  the  pattern  of  the 
other  Eastern  colleges  building  up  solid  pro 
grams  in  this  area.  Their  guiding  light  was  Ger 
many  where  the  first  chair  in  art  history  had 
been  established  thirty  years  earlier  for  G.  F. 

A  second  factor  was  the  vision  of  Aurelia 
Henry  Reinhardt,  dynamic  president  of  Mills 

from  1916  to  1943.  In  the  1930's  and  early  40's 
she  seized  the  opportunity  of  bringing  to  the 
College  refugee  scholars  who  shed  a  new  lustre 
on  the  institution.  Alfred  Salmony,  Alfred  Neu 
meyer,  Edgar  Breitenbach,  and  Otto  Maenchen, 
maintaining  European  standards  of  scholarship, 
incorporated  into  their  courses  fresh  material, 
frequently  the  result  of  their  own  researches. 

They  came,  however,  to  a  soil  well  prepared, 
and  to  a  congenial  atmosphere.  The  modern 
sophisticate  is  quite  ready  to  smile  condescend 
ingly  over  the  catalogues  of  the  Seminary  and 
young  College.  The  ladies  entrusted  with  the 
teaching  of  art  history  also  doubled  as  English 
instructors;  one  is  rightfully  dubious  concerning 
the  depths  of  their  knowledge.  But— the  eye 
pauses— what  is  this?  We  scan  a  catalogue  listing 
the  textbooks  used  in  art  history  and  find  that 
they  are  the  standard  works  of  the  time,  written 
by  the  leading  authorities  of  the  period,  Kugler, 
Liibke,  Winckelmann  (generally  thought  of  as 
the  father  of  art  history),  Crowe  and  Cavaca- 
selle.  Their  books  were  the  best  offered  then, 
and  later  discoveries  concerning  dating  and 
attributions  should  not  obscure  our  recognition 
of  the  contributions  made  by  these  men.  Just 
how  the  courses  at  Mills  were  taught  or  the  gen 
eral  tone  is  not  so  important  as  the  fact  that  this 
branch  of  study  was  formally  recognized.  Its 


Don  W.  Jones,  page  3,  right;  page  5.  upper  left; 
back  cover.  Roi  Partridge,  page  4,  left. 
Imogen  Cunningham,  page  4,  right.  Kenneth 
Young,  page  5,  upper  right  and  bottom;  page  6. 
ASUCLA  Photographic  Department,  page  9,  bottom; 
page  10,  bottom.  Harasty  Photography,  page  9, 

MILLS  MAGAZINE  is  published  by  Milb  College  bi-month 
ly  during  the  academic  year,  in  September,  November, 
January,  March,  May.  Second  class  postage  paid  at  Oakland, 
California.  Interested  persons  may  be  placed  on  the  mailing 
lift  by  addressing  their  requests  to  the  Office  of  Publica 
tions,  Mills  College,  Oakland,  California  946 IS. 

Editor,  Barbara  M.  Bundschu 

MAY-JUNE  1972  •  SERIES  J  •  NUMBER  4 


He  also  taught  a  two-unit  course  in  the  "General 
History  of  Art,"  which  was  very  general  indeed. 
More  depth,  presumably,  was  to  be  found  in 
two  upper  division  courses  entitled  "Schools  of 
Painting"  and  "American  Painting." 

The  year  1 920  saw  still  deeper  emphasis  given 
to  the  artist's  rather  than  to  the  historian's  point 
of  view  when  the  distinguished  etcher  Roi 
Partridge  was  appointed.  He  was  to  serve  Mills 
long  and  faithfully.  Mr.  Partridge  shared  with 
Mr.  Neuhaus  and  Mrs.  Grace  Storey  Putnam 
responsibility  for  the  advanced  courses  men 
tioned  above.  This  was  in  addition  to  his  pri 
mary  commitment,  teaching  studio  courses. 

Another  development  important  for  the  stat 
ure  of  the  College  was  the  fact  that  Mills  was 
now  accredited  as  a  teacher  training  institution 
and  it  was  possible  to  obtain  the  State  Certificate 
in  Drawing  and  Art  for  Secondary  Schools.  Cer 
tain  theoretical  and  practical  courses  were  re 
quired  by  the  State  Board  of  Education;  the 
curriculum  of  the  an  department  was  influenced 

The  1923-24  catalogue  lists  the  name  of  Miss 
Florence  Minard,  long  known  for  her  courses 
on  the  history  of  costume  and  on  domestic  archi 
tecture  and  furnishings.  These  were  tied  in  with 
the  bourgeoning  Department  of  Home  Eco 
nomics.  In  1928  Eugen  Neuhaus  was  no  longer 
at  Mills;  more  formal  courses  in  art  history, 
including  one  on  Oriental  art  were  offered  by 
Dr.  Anna  Cox  Brinton  and  Mrs.  Rose  Berry. 

In  1931  Warren  Cheney  of  the  University  of 
California  began  leaching  a  course  in  modern 
art,  described  as  a  unified  approach  to  the  major 
arts.  Painting,  literature,  and  theater  were  dis 
cussed  in  the  fall  semester;  sculpture,  dance, 
architecture,  and  music  in  the  spring.  The 
course  was  offered  through  1 936. 

Significant  change  took  place  in  1934  with 

Mr.  Salmony 

the  appointment  of  Alfred  Salmony  (Ph.D., 
Vienna)  as  visiting  lecturer  in  Oriental  art.  He 
taught  courses  on  prehistoric  an  in  China,  on 
the  Eastern  animal  style,  and  on  the  Scythians, 
his  areas  of  special  interest  and  research,  in  addi 
tion  to  the  general  course  on  Oriental  art  al 
ready  in  the  curriculum. 

Although  Salmony's  stay  at  Mills  was  rela 
tively  brief  his  imprint  as  a  scholar  lingered. 
Three  Master's  theses  on  Oriental  art  had  been 
produced  while  he  was  at  Mills.  One  was  by 
Elizabeth  Huff,  who  became  a  distinguished 
Orientalist  and  later  director  of  the  East  Asiatic 
Library  in  Berkeley,  one  by  Helen  Chapin, 
already  an  Oriental  scholar  in  her  own  right, 
and  one  by  Alice  Putnam  Breuer  (now  Mrs. 
Erskine)  who  had  undertaken  study  abroad  in 
connection  with  her  thesis.  Following  Dr. 
Salmony's  departure  she  was  given  the  post  of 
instructor  in  Oriental  art  and  conscientiously 
followed  his  methods  of  teaching. 

Also  still  vivid  in  the  collective  memory  were 
two  exhibitions  of  Chinese  and  Japanese  art 
which  drew  considerable  attention  to  Mills.  At 
the  same  time,  chiefly  through  the  Rockefeller 
Foundation,  valuable  and  expensive  sets  of 
books  on  Oriental  art  were  obtained. 

Dr.  Salmony  left  in  1936,  ultimately  for  a 
connection  with  New  York  University's  Insti 
tute  of  Fine  Arts,  where  he  remained  until  his 
death  in  1958. 

The  appointment  in  1 935  of  Alfred  Neu-  -i 
meyer  (Ph.D.,  Berlin)  as  Assistant  Professor 
of  Art  and  Director  of  the  Art  Gallery  was  a 
milestone  in  the  College's  history.  For  thirty-one 
years  he  was  a  guiding  force  in  the  art  depart 
ment  and  brought  Mills  much  in  the  way  of 
reflected  glory.  A  scholar  rigorously  trained  in 
the  European  tradition,  a  gifted  lecturer  and 
writer,  always  with  two  or  three  pieces  of  re- 


Afuj  Tolman 

effects  on  those  sensitive  to  beauty  cannot  be 

From  existing  records  there  seems  to  be  gen 
eral  agreement  on  the  role  played  by  Jane  Cor 
delia  Tolman,  younger  sister  of  Mrs.  Mills.  Also 
a  graduate  of  Mt.  Holyoke,  she  is  first  listed  as  an 
English  teacher,  for  the  period  1868-77.  Then 
she  disappears  from  the  catalogue  and  reappears 
in  1882  as  a  full-fledged  instructor  in  art  history, 
teaching  the  subject  until  her  retirement  in 
1 90S.  At  the  same  time  the  catalogue  proudly 
announces  that  as  an  adjunct  to  the  program  in 
that  field  there  are  "hundreds  of  fine  engravings 
and  autotypes,  recently  selected  for  the  Seminary 
in  Europe."  This  is  our  clue  to  the  date  of  Miss 
Tolman's  visit  to  that  Mecca  for  American  art 
lovers.  Apparently  it  was  the  great  experience 
of  her  life.  Also,  apparently,  she  had  the  ability 
to  transmit  her  feeling  for  art.  Rosalind  Keep 
in  her  history  of  Mills  says  that  former  students 
of  M  iss  Tolman's  referred  to  art  history  as  one 
of  the  most  valuable,  vital,  and  stimulating  sub 
jects  in  the  curriculum. 

Jane  Tolman  was  succeeded  by  Augusta 
Brooks,  who  taught  both  English  and  art  history 
from  1904  to  191 1,  and  by  Marian  Griswold 
Boalt,  a  graduate  of  Lake  Erie  College,  who  had 
also  studied  at  Mt.  Holyoke.  Miss  Brooks  had 
done  graduate  work  at  Wellesley,  but  whether 
in  English  or  art  history  we  do  not  know.  Miss 
Boah's  appointment  was  made  'hiring  the 
presidency  of  Louella  Clay  Carson,  who  was 
trying  to  raise  Mills  from  seminary  to  College 

After  1916,  following  the  inauguration  of 
Aurelia  Henry  Reinhardt,  many  changes  took 
place.  New  appointees  brought  a  higher  degree 
of  scholarship  to  the  campus,  with  the  number 
holding  the  Ph.D.  increasing  appreciably;  the 
curriculum  was  expanded  and  up-dated,  and  the 
College  gained  national  recognition.  The  repu 
tation  developed  during  the  first  decade  of  Dr. 
Reinhardt's  presidency  was  due  in  large  pan 
to  her  personality  and  ability.  In  1917  Mills  was 
elected  to  membership  in  the  Association  of 
American  Universities  and  Colleges.  A  charter 
for  a  chapter  of  Phi  Beta  Kappa  was  granted  in 

The  art  department  perforce  reflected  this 
period  of  growth  and  changing  emphases.  In 
1918  Miss  Boalt  was  replaced  by  the  noted 
painter  Eugen  Neuhaus.  He  was  given  the  title 
"Director  of  Graphic  and  Applied  Art"  and 
offered  lecture  courses  on  "the  principles  of 
artistic  production  and  aesthetic  appreciation." 

Mr.  Neumeyer 


Mrs.  Caldwell 

search  in  hand,  he  quickly  built  up  a  reputation 
as  an  outstanding  teacher.  After  his  retirement 
his  lecture  series  for  alumnae  drew  flocks  of 
former  students  wishing  to  renew  the  old  magic, 
and  many  others,  happy  to  have  the  opportunity 
of  hearing  the  master  whose  courses  they  had 
missed  as  undergraduates. 

Dr.  Neumeyer  thought  of  the  Art  Gallery  as 
an  adjunct  to  the  teaching  function;  conse 
quently  exhibits  were  chosen  with  an  eye  to  en 
riching  the  course  offerings.  In  making  acqui 
sitions  for  the  Gallery  he  concentrated  on  pur 
chasing  prints.  There  were  several  reasons- 
one  was  Dr.  Neumeyer's  special  interest  and 
competence  in  this  area  because  of  his  expe 
rience  in  the  Print  Room  at  the  Berlin  Museum, 
another  was  the  fact  that  graphic  works  were 
relatively  inexpensive,  and  a  third  was  that  this 
material  provided  students  with  the  experience 
of  handling  original  works  of  art.  Woodcuts, 
engravings,  and  etchings  were  used  to  good 
advantage  in  advanced  courses  and  seminars. 

A  true  scholar  has  an  insatiable  desire  for 
books;  Dr.  Neumeyer's  efforts  to  obtain  for  the 
Library  important  works  resulted  in  a  collection 
of  volumes  on  art  history  unusually  fine  for  a 
college  of  this  si/e.  His  interest  extended  to  items 
for  the  rare  book  room,  where  sources  for  art 
history  and  finely  illustrated  books  were 
acquired  on  his  recommendation.  These,  in 
turn,  were  used  in  special  seminars  held  in  the 
Bender  Room. 

In  1937  despite  the  Depression  and  gathering 
war  clouds  the  department's  little  band  of  grad 
uate  students  had  a  sense  of  excitement  and  of 
larger  possibilities.  Edgar  Breiten bach  (Ph.D., 
Hamburg),  disciple  of  Aby  Warburg  who 
founded  the  famous  institute  which  still  bears 
his  name,  gave  special  courses  in  medieval  art 
and  iconography.  A  year-long  seminar  on 

Mr.  Frankenstein 

Michelangelo  conducted  by  Dr.  Neumeyer  made 
us  feel  that  we  were  authorities  on  that  particu 
lar  titan  and  the  following  year  devoted  to  Diirer 
gave  us  insight  into  the  Northern  genius  and 
knowledge  of  the  graphic  art  of  that  time  and 

Pearl  Harbor,  alas,  brought  drastic  reverses  to 
the  College.  President  Reinhardt,  fearful  of  the 
effect  of  war  on  enrollment,  made  large  cuts  in 
staff.  Dr.  Neumeyer  and  Miss  Minard  alone 
were  left  to  teach  European  art.  Otto  Maenchen 
(Ph.D.,  Leipzig),  who  came  to  Mills  in  1939, 
continued  to  conduct  courses  in  Oriental  art. 
After  Miss  Minard's  retirement  in  1945  until 
Robert  Beetem's  appointment  in  1961  Dr.  Neu 
meyer  was  solely  responsible  for  the  area  of 
Western  art.  This  would  have  been  detrimental 
to  the  College  had  he  been  a  lesser  man.  As  it 
was,  courses  covering  different  periods  had  to 
be  offered  in  alternate  years,  and  it  was  difficult 
to  give  graduate  students  work  sufficiently  ad 
vanced  and  varied. 

Beginning  in  1944  Alfred  Frankenstein's 
popular  and  valuable  course  on  music  and  the 
visual  arts  in  America  started  under  the  auspices 

Mri.  Corn,  Mr.  Watt,  Mn.  Wrifkt 


of  the  School  of  Fine  Arts.  This,  with  a  break 
between  1947  and  1955,  has  continued  to  the 

Mrs.  Wale,  Associate  Librarian  and  Lecturer  in 
History  of  Art,  also  has  charge  of  the  Albert  M. 
Bender  Collection  of  rare  books  and  manu 
scripts.  She  is  a  graduate  of  Wellesley  College, 
with  an  M.A.  from  Mills  and  the  Certificate  in 
Librarianship  from  the  University  of  California 
at  Berkeley.  She  has  been  at  Mills  since  1941. 
As  the  librarian  concerned  with  the  proper 
presentation  of  theses,  she  regrets  that  this  mag 
azine  omits  footnotes  and  suggests  the  following 
references  in  addition  to  the  Mills  sources  cited. 

Priscilla  Hiu  »nd  Roberta  Fansler,  Research  in  Fine 
Arti  in  the  Colleges  and  Universities  of  the  United  States 
(New  York.  Carnegie  Corporation,  1934),  pp.  115-116. 

"Hittoriography"  in  the  Encyclopedia  of  World  Art 
(New  York:  McGraw  Hill.  1959). 

"Kunitgeschichte  American  Style,"  by  Colin  Eisler  in 
The  Intellectual  Migration,  Europe  to  America,  1930-1S60, 
ed.  by  Donald  Fleming  (Cambridge,  Matt.:  Harvard  Univer- 
«ity  Preu,  1969).  pp.  544-629. 

present  time,  with  some  modifications.  The 
section  on  visual  arts  is  now  a  separate  course 
listed  under  the  art  department. 

A  happy  circumstance  for  the  College  was 
the  195 1  appointment  of  Katherine  Caldwell  as 
lecturer  in  Oriental  art  after  interim  appoint 
ments  following  Dr.  Maenchen's  departure  for 
U.  C.  in  1947.  She  was  destined  to  bring  twenty 
years  of  enthusiastic  teaching  to  Mills  students. 
Upon  her  retirement  last  June,  Hugh  Wass 
was  appointed  to  teach  the  courses  in  this  area. 

Today  a  new  generation  has  taken  over, 
bright,  energetic  young  people,  excellently 
trained.  Since  1961  the  directorship  of  the  Gal 
lery  has  been  successively  in  the  hands  of  Robert 
Beetem,  Carl  Beh,  and  Elizabeth  Elston  Ross, 
a  Mills  alumna.  Following  Dr.  Neumeyer's  re 
tirement  in  1066  Hanna  Lerski  and,  subse 
quently,  Georgia  Wright  took  responsibility  for 
his  courses.  Today's  students  are  keenly  inter 
ested  in  contemporary  art  and  the  courses  on 
this  subject  offered  first  by  Carl  Belz  and  cur 
rently  by  Wanda  Corn  have  been  enthusiastic 
ally  received. 

Graduate  work  in  art  history  has  been 
dropped  within  the  past  few  years  because  of 
the  limitations  of  the  department— in  size  of 
staff  rather  than  quality.  Over  the  years  the 
relationship  with  offerings  in  the  creative  arts 
has  on  ihc  whole  been  well  balanced,  with 
majors  obliged  to  take  courses  in  both  history 
and  technique. 

What  of  the  students  who  majored  in  art 
history  or  earned  Master's  degrees  in  the  sub 
ject"-  A  few  have  gone  on  to  get  the  Ph.D.  and 
pursue  careers  commensurate  with  their  ability. 
Others  have  led  useful  lives,  teaching  on  differ 
ent  levels,  as  museum  and  gallery  workers  or  as 
librarians.  In  my  case  I  found  the  possibility  of 
a  happy  marriage  between  art  history  and  the 
study  of  rare  books.  The  two  fields  are  closely 
related  and  enhance  each  other. 

The  students  who  have  not  followed  profes 
sions  contribute  also.  Some  participate  in 
docent  programs  in  museums,  and  others  with 
wealth  at  their  disposal  have  played  important 
roles  as  patrons  of  art. 

At  the  present  moment  there  is  tremendous 
popular  interest  in  art.  We  find  increasing 
numbers  of  art  history  programs  in  colleges, 
junior  colleges,  and  high  schools.  Here  at  Mills 
the  subject  is  flourishing,  nearly  one  hundred 
years  after  its  introduction  into  the  curriculum. 


Farewel  I 

Cold  well 

Nancy  Thompson  Price,  '61 

Quarterly  custom  is  to  honor  a  retiring  faculty  member 
by  asking  a  faculty  associate  or  former  student  to 
write  a  piece  about  him  or  her.    Nancy  Thompson 
Price,  a  former  student  of  Dr.  Caldwell's,  now 
teaches  Oriental  art  history  at  Vassar. 

When  Katherine  Caldwell  came  to  the  campus 
she  was  not  the  first  to  teach  Oriental  art  at  Mills. 
She  did,  however,  provide  the  only  contact  with 
Asian  culture  for  several  generations  of  art  majors 
and  other  assorted  students  inclined  toward  exotica. 
Her  survey  confronted  the  novice  with  a  plethora 
of  unheard-of  names  and  places,  not  to  mention 
times.   There  was  no  familiar  Renaissance  or  Renoir 
to  reassure  the  student,  now  called  upon  for  the 
first  time  to  cope  with  the  stupa  and  the  sutra,  Wangs 
and  Yangs,  Kano  Masanobu  and  Kano  Mitsunobu. 
But  Mrs.  Caldwell's  own  obvious  enthusiasm  for,  and 
sure  command  of  her  subject  matter  invariably  carried 
her  class  through  the  first  few  dazed  weeks.  Her  lec 
tures  brought  the  myterious  East  to  life  with  an 
effective  selection  from  the  stunning  collection  of 
slides  which  she  had   made  on  her  various  trips. 
Her  personal   library  of  Chinese  and  Japanese 
publications,  too,  was  available  to  her  students.    By 
the  end  of  the  year's  course,  their  horizons  had  been 
expanded  far  beyond  their  own  Western  heritage. 
For  those  whose  initial  curiosity  developed  into  a 
deep  interest,  she  provided  advanced  courses  in  Chinese 
and  Japanese  art. 

As  a  strong  believer  in  the  principle  that  Asian 
culture  should  be  part  of  the  curriculum  of  all  college 
students,  and  as  sole  representative  of  Asian  studies 
at  Mills  for  many  years,  Mrs.  Caldwell  can,  at  her 
retirement,  draw  satisfaction  from  the  presently  some- 

Mills  Quarterly,  Vol.  53,  No.  A. 
Appendix  E 

what  more  developed  program  in  the  area.   Offerings 
in  history  and  opportunities  for  language  study  now 
augment  the  courses  in  art  history  which  she  taught 
for  two  decades. 

Mrs.  Caldwell  received  her  BA  and  MA  from 
Radcliffe  College,  where  she  studied  under  the 
renowned  American  pioneer  in  the  field  of  Oriental 
art  history,  Landgon  Warner.    She  made  frequent 
research  trips  abroad,  traveling  extensively  in  Europe, 
India  and 'Japan  to  visit  museums  and  art  centers 
and  to  examine  the  art  treasures  preserved  in 
private  collections.   She  is  currently  at  work  on  a 
special  research  project  involving  Japanese  painting, 
and  to  further  this  project  went  to  Japan  in  the  summer 
of  1968  on  a  Mills  College  research  grant. 

Through  her  travels,  lectures  and  teaching  Mrs. 
Caldwell   has  done  much  to  advance  interest  in 
Oriental  culture  in  the  Bay  Area.   One  of  the  founders 
and  a  former  director  of  the  Society  for  Asian  Art 
in  San  Francisco,  she  is  presently  on  their  advisory 
committee,  composed  of  specialists  in  the  field 
from  Bay  Area  colleges  and  universities.    She  served 
on  the  committee  for  the  opening  of  the  Avery 
Brundage  Wing  of  the  M.  H.  De  Young  Museum 
in  San  Francisco,  in  June,  1966.    Illustrated  records 
of  findings  on  her  trips  have  greatly  enriched  the 
slide  collection  of  the  Mills  College  Department  of  Art. 

Mrs.  Caldwell's  retirement  marks  the  beginning 
of  a  more  intensive  pursuit  of  her  own  special  aca 
demic  interests.  She  will  leave  this  summer  on  another 
trip  to  Japan,  where  she  plans  to  spend  several 
months  studying  Nara  paintings    Mills  wirf  miss  her, 
but  we  wish  her  well  in  her  new  ventures. 

May  1971 



AFTERWORD  From  the  oral  history  of  Sara  Bard  Field, 

by  Catherine  Caldwell,  1979. 

Children  usually  piece  together  the  events  of  their  parents'  lives 
gradually,  in  no  logical  sequence,  from  partially  remembered  anecdotes, 
casually  mentioned,  or  deliberately  related  events.,  My  mother's  autobio 
graphy  confirms  what  I  sensed  from  early  childhood,  that  she  belonged  to  a 
world  reaching  far  beyond  our  home.  Just  how  large  that  world  was  and  the 
genesis  and  expansion  of  her  concern  is  set  down  in  her  oral  history  with 
clarity  and  astonishingly  remembered  detail.  While  we  could  not,  as 
children,  appreciate  the  importance  of  her  work,  my  brother  and  I  accepted 
her  role  in  the  outside  world  as  a  given  fact — although  not  without  dismay. 
For  since  she  was  capable  of  creating  intense,  joyous  excitement,  her 
frequent  absences  were  the  more  bleak  by  contrast.  The  infectious  gaiety 
she  brought  with  her  was  felt  by  everyone  whose  life  she  touched.  My 
husband,  James  Caldwell,  expressed  the  sparkle  she  inevitably  evoked  by 
saying,  "When  Sara  comes,  it's  always  a  holiday!".   She  had  the  gift  of 
giving  herself  wholly  to  the  moment,  not  only  in  gaiety,  but  in  sympathetic 
concern  for  individual  suffering,  always  offering  help,  and  for  passionate 
defense  of  a  cause  or  principle. 

Companionship  with  her  was  for  my  brother  and  me  a  shining  event,  after 
her  long  absences  on  the  suffrage  trail.  We  entered  into  the  games  she 
devised  for  us  with  much  laughter  and  the  sense  that  she  was,  for  the  moment, 
"ours."  We  were  particularly  enchanted  by  her  "old  witch, "an  imaginary  alter 
ego  which  she  pretended  to  consult  with  mischievous  and  conspiratorial 
secrecy  when  we  asked  her  a  question.   She  was  indeed  bewitching  in  the 
dictionary  definition,  as  in  "a  particularly  charming  and  alluring  woman." 

Sharing  her  was  taken  for  granted,  but  however  long  the  absences,  it 
never  occurred  to  me  that  she  would  not  want  to  return  home.  And  so  it  was 
an  unexpected  and  paralyzing  shock  when  she  announced  suddenly  that  she  was 
no  longer  going  to  share  life  with  my  father.   I  was  in  my  sixth  year  when 
she  came  to  me  suddenly  and  said,  "Darling,  I'm  going  to  leave  your  father, 
do  you  want  to  stay  with  him  or  come  with  me?".  I  could  not  believe  her 
words,  for  I  hadn't  the  faintest  hint  that  so  momentous  a  change  was  about 
to  take  place.   Besides  my  ignorance  of  the  rift  between  my  parents  I  had 
never  encountered  separation  between  parents.  None  of  my  little  friends' 
parents  were  divorced.  To  choose  between  two  parents,  both  of  whom  I  loved, 
was  a  terrible  decision.  Forced  to  a  choice,  I  chose  to  go  with  my  mother. 
My  brother,  whom  I  dearly  loved  and  who  adored  my  mother,  stayed  behind. 

We  were  to  spend  a  year  in  Goldfield,  Nevada  while  my  mother  sued  for 
her  divorce.  Coming  from  the  land  of  rose  festivals  and  verdant  gardens  we 
found  this  dry  bare  country  a  considerable  shock.   Even  the  guide  books 
comment  on  its  aridity.   Desert  Challenge  describes  it  best:  "Goldfield 
was  a  waterless  and  treeless  country,  in  a  zone  where  even  the  sagebrush  gave  up 


trying  to  grow,  in  favor  of  the  low  shad  scale  and  the  giant  yucca,  which 
cast  no  more  shade  than  a  barbwire  fence."  There  was  one  little  oasis  in 
the  town,  -  a  small  plot  of  grass  owned  by  a  highly  paid  mine  executive.  We 
were  told  that  the  monthly  water  bill  for  this  extravagance  came  to  one 
hundred  dollars!  I  used  to  gaze  on  it  with  wonder,  touching  the  green  blades 
remembering  my  father's  pride  in  our  Portland  garden  and  the  smell  of  the 
newly  cut  lawn.  This  bit  of  green  was  a  comforting  sight  in  a  dry  land. 

It  was  not  until  some  time  after  we  were  settled  in  a  little  house  in 
that  rough  mining  town  that  I  sensed  a  new  strong  presence  in  our  lives, 
tangible  only  through  the  flow  of  letters  and  telegrams  and  the  frequent 
arrival,  by  freight,  of  edible  delicacies.  The  sender,  of  course,  was 
C.E.S.W.  Visits  to  the  telegraph  and  post  office  (there  was  no  house  delivery 
and  I  do  not  remember  having  a  telephone)  were  a  regular  part  of  our  lives. 
My  mother  used  to  say,  when  she  took  me  with  her,  that  the  rowdy  men  about 
town  respected  a  woman  with  a  child.  The  telegraph  clerk  apparently  broke 
his  routine  day  by  savoring  the  messages  he  recorded.  But  the  telegrams  my 
mother  received  baffled  as  well  as  amused  him,  for  they  sounded  like 
meaningless  gibberish.  This  was  exactly  the  effect  that  they  were  supposed 
to  have  on  the  unknowing  eye  since  the  text  was  devised  in  a  curious  code, 
deliberately  intended  to  disguise  the  meaning,  and  the  identity  of  the 
sender.  The  sender  was  a  mystery  to  me,  too.   I  knew  his  name  was  Erskine 
(later  to  be  called  "Pops"  by  my  brother  and  me)  and  that  steady  communication 
with  him  was  the  focus  of  my  mother's  life.  But  I  did  not  then  know  that 
she  had  left  my  father  for  love  of  him.  Nor  did  I  know  that  later,  after  a 
long  period  of  rejection  by  me,  he  would  become  a  second  father  to  me  and  a 
crucial  force  in  shaping  my  thought  and  the  direction  of  my  life. 

Erskine' s  letters  were  written  in  green  ink  in  an  easy  flowing  hand. 
The  green  ink  was  as  much  a  part  of  his  personal  style  as  his  long  hair  and 
beard.   Sight  of  that  ink  and  hand,  when  inadvertently  discovered  by  my 
father  in  later  years,  would  send  him  into  a  rage.  For  this  small  evidence 
of  non-conformity  reminded  my  father  of  C.E.S.W.'s  deeper  commitment  to  a 
personal  freedom  he  abhorred. 

My  mother  spent  many  hours  at  her  typewriter,  writing  late  into  the 
night.  I  would  lie  in  bed  listening  to  the  pounding  of  the  keys  which 
reassured  me  that  she  was  "still  there."  When  the  sound  ceased  I  was 
fearful  of  being  left  alone.  For  frequently,  her  work  concluded,  she  would 
join  a  late-night  party.  Characteristically,  she  was  the  vibrant  center  of 
a  group  wherever  she  might  be.  Goldfield  was  no  exception.  Literate 
company  was  scarce,  but  executives  of  the  gold  mine  provided  tolerable 
distraction  and  temporary  escape  from  her  loneliness  for  C.E.S.W. 

On  Sundays,  we  dined  at  the  Goldfield  Hotel,  the  only  evidence  of  urban 
elegance  and  solidity  in  town.  I  loved  going  there.  There  were  thick 
flowered  carpets,  heavy  leather-covered  chairs,  mahogany  woodwork,  and  an 
elevator  I  delighted  to  ride  up  and  down  in  just  as  a  game.  We  would  sit 
alone  at  a  table  in  the  big  dining  room.  Mother  would  order  a  glass  of  red 


wine  for  herself  and  a  glass  of  grape  juice  for  me,  my  "pretend  wine,"  to 
make  me  feel  grown  up.  On  one  occasion  a  lady  at  a  nearby  table  admonished 
my  mother  for  giving  what  she  supposed  to  be  alcohol  to  a  child.  My  mother 
indignantly  put  her  to  rights. 

Goldfield  was  undeniably  a  frontier  town.  Gypsies  in  horse-drawn  wagons 
frequently  came  by,  a  bull  occasionally  broke  loose,  and  my  schoolmates 
included  the  offspring  of  prostitutes.  But  the  serious  threat  to  our  peace 
of  mind  was  blackmail.  My  mother  would  find  a  note  under  the  door  threaten 
ing  her  with  damaging  evidence  in  her  divorce  trial  if  she  did  not  leave 
five  hundred  dollars  (big  money  at  that  time)  under  a  given  tree.   I  remember 
going  for  a  ride  one  night  with  some  of  my  mother's  friends  to  put  an  empty 
envelope  under  the  designated  tree.  The  sheriff  was  in  hiding.  Whether  or 
not  the  criminal  was  caught  1  do  not  know,  but  I  do  know  that  the  money  was 
never  paid. 

The  long  year's  exile  in  Goldfield  came  to  an  end.  The  terms  of  the 
divorce  settlement  gave  custody  of  the  children  to  my  father.  My  brother, 
who  had  stayed  behind  with  our  father,  had  of  course  been  separated  from  our 
mother  for  the  duration.  Henceforth,  by  court  degree,  we  were  to  see  my 
mother  weekends  and  half  of  vacations.  After  an  interval  in  Alameda,  my 
father  found  a  house  for  us  in  Berkeley,  one  he  exchanged  for  the  abandoned 
Portland  property.   He  chose  Berkeley  because  he  wanted  us  to  grow  up  in  a 
cultivated  academic  community.  My  mother  rented  an  apartment  on  Russian 
Hill  in  San  Francisco,  in  commuting  distance  from  Berkeley.   On  Fridays, 
in  addition  to  our  brown-bag  lunch,  we  carried  a  little  satchel  to  school 
for  our  weekend  stay  in  San  Francisco. 

By  my  father's  order,  we  were  never  to  see  "that  man"  (my  father  could 
never  bring  himself  to  utter  the  name  of  Wood).   This  stipulation  put  my 
mother  in  a  serious  dilemma.  For  how  could  she  say  to  Erskine  when  he  came 
down  from  Portland  to  see  her  (as  he  frequently  did)  "Erskine,  please  go 
away  for  the  weekend  since  my  children  are  here."  So,  in  order  to  see  my 
mother,  we  had  to  pretend  to  my  father  that  we  never  saw  "that  man."  I 
dreaded  C.E.S.W.'s  visits  which  cut  into  the  precious  hours  with  my  mother 
and  necessitated  lying  to  my  father.  There  were  occasional  leaks  when  some 
friend,  innocent  of  betrayal,  would  say  in  my  father's  presence  "I  saw 
Albert  and  Kay  having  lunch  at  the  Palace  with  the  most  interesting  looking 
man.  He  had  long  hair  and  a  beard."  My  father's  rage  on  learning  that  his 
orders  had  been  breached,  that  his  children  were  being  exposed  to  the  views 
of  an  "anarchist"  and  "free  lover,"  was  terrifying.  He  renewed  his  threats 
to  forbid  our  seeing  our  mother  entirely. 

On  October  12,  1918,  my  brother  Albert  was  killed  in  an  automobile 
accident,  when  he  was  seventeen,  I  twelve.  I  have  lived  and  relived  the 
sequence  of  events  of  that  tragic  day  throughout  my  life.  My  mother, 
brother,  Pops,  and  I  had  been,  as  my  mother  describes,  on  a  picnic  in  Marin 
county.   Pops  had  never  learned  to  drive,  but  had  persuaded  my  mother  to 
take  driving  lessons  and  she  was,  consequently,  driving  the  car.  We  had 


intended  to  go  straight  back  to  San  Francisco  after  the  picnic,  since  the 
auto  ferries  ran  at  fairly  long  intervals.  However,  my  brother  wanted  to 
show  my  mother  one  of  his  favorite  hiking  haunts,  and  we  drove  farther  on 
climbing  a  steep  hill,  called  White's  Hill.  My  brother  and  I  took  turns 
sitting  beside  my  mother  on  the  front  seat.  Shortly  before  the  accident 
I  moved  in  front.  Since  the  hill  seemed  to  continue  indefinitely  without 
a  convenient  turning  place,  my  mother  attempted  to  make  a  U-turn  in  the  road. 
She  put  the  gear  in  reverse  and  we  moved  slowly  back.  Suddenly  we  realized 
that  she  was  approaching  the  outside  edge  of  the  road.  Pops  called  out, 
"Sara,  put  on  the  brake!"  which  she  did.  But  it  was  too  late.  The  edge 
gave  way  and  the  car  rolled  slowly,  turning  over  and  over  the  forty-foot 
bank.  My  mother,  brother  and  I  were  trapped  under  the  overturned  car  at 
the  bottom  of  the  canyon.  Only  C.E.S.W.  was  thrown  free.  His  nose  had  been 
broken,  but,  dripping  with  blood  he  climbed  the  steep  bank  to  seek  help.  My 
mother,  who  must  have  been  in  excruciating  pain  from  a  partially  severed  leg, 
showed  extraordinary  fortitude.  Though  held  down  by  my  right  arm,  I  was 
uninjured.  My  mother  and  I  shouted  "Help!"  in  unison,  hoping  to  attract  the 
attention  of  motorists  on  the  highway  above.  It  was  a  futile  effort  since 
on  the  upward  slope  engines  noisily  changed  gears,  obliterating  other  sounds. 
To  the  terror  of  being  trapped  was  added  the  sound  of  my  brother's  heavy 
breathing.   I  did  not  know  he  was  dying  but  knew  he  must  be  in  great  distress. 
In  actuality  he  was  killed  by  the  weight  of  the  car  on  his  chest.  According 
to  my  mother's  account,  she  was  "able  to  hold  Kay  in  ray  arms  and  sing  to  her, 
trying  to  quiet  her  hysterical  terror."  This  was  an  impossibility  since  we 
were  separated  and  unable  to  move.  For  what  she  did  do  I  am  unendingly 
grateful.  Although  I  realized  our  peril  and  would  have  put  little  faith 
in  a  soothing  answer,  I  asked  her  if  we  were  going  to  die.   So,  when  she 
replied,  "Kay,  I  do  not  know  "  the  stark  honesty  was  strangely  reassuring. 

My  brother  died  under  the  car.  We,  the  survivors,  struggled  with  our 
disbelief.  My  mother's  physical  and  psychological  anguish  were  so  great 
that  she  could  not  speak  to  me  when  I  came  to  her  hospital  bed.  Pops  was 
under  sedation.  My  brother  was  irretrievably  gone.  My  father,  who  was  out 
of  town  on  a  fund-raising  trip  for  his  church,  was  summoned  but  had  not 
returned.   I  dreaded  his  coming  for  the  accident  not  only  killed  my  brother 
but  also  revealed  undeniably  our  association  with  "that  man."  In  my  desolate 
isolation  I  was  forced  to  a  self-dependence  both  bewildering  and  awesome.   It 
is  impossible  to  exaggerate  what  the  loss  of  my  brother  meant  to  me.  For 
added  to  the  weight  of  sorrow  was  the  loss  of  a  confident  buoyant  reassuring 
ever-present  companion  on  whom  I  could  depend.  My  mother  seemed  unaware  of 
the  immensity  of  this  loss  to  me.  She  says  in  her  oral  history  "Kay... was 
very  young,  and  thank  God,  it  doesn't  seem  to  have  left  any  mark  on  her  that 
I  can  see.   She  never  refers  to  it"  (p. 378).   The  familial  bond  between 
brother  and  sister  was  strengthened  by  separation  from  our  mother  and  by  our 
common  need  to  stand  up  to  our  father's  attempt  to  curtail  our  visits  to  her 
and  to  devise  ways -to  slip  in  surreptitious  visits.  Although  we  each  had 
separate  friends,  the  weekend  trips  to  San  Francisco  threw  us  together  in 
our  free  time  more  constantly  than  most  siblings  of  different  ages  and  sexes. 


Furthermore,  the  endearing  reason  for  these  trips  bound  us  together  in  a 
special  way.  In  spite  of  brotherly  teasing,  Albert  showed  considerable 
tenderness  toward  me.  His  letters  to  my  mother  reiterate  his  attempt  to 
comfort  me  in  her  absence.  He  tried  to  compensate,  in  an  older  brotherly 
way,  for  the  insecurity  caused  by  separation  from  my  mother.  I  adored  him 
and  counted  on  him  as  an  unfailing  companion  and  protector. 

In  the  weeks  following  the  accident,  my  mother  and  Pops  lived  in  a 
rented  house  in  Kentfield,  where  my  mother  recuperated  from  the  intricate 
surgery  needed  to  save  her  partially  severed  leg.  For  months,  I  was  cut  off 
from  seeing  her  since  there  was  no  doubt  about  C.E.S.W.'s  being  at  her 
side.  Finally  a  visit  was  arranged,  an  event  never  to  be  forgotten.  The 
visit  was  prearranged  with  the  assurance  that  C.E.S.W.  would  not  be  in 
evidence.  My  mother's  sister,  Mary  Parton,  who  had  come  to  Kentfield  to 
help  her  stricken  sister,  confused  the  date  of  our  visit.  As  my  father  and 
I  approached  the  porch  we  saw  my  mother  reclining  in  a  chaise  longue.  Next  to 
her,  his  arms  about  her  shoulders,  was  C.E.S.W.  This  scene  was  too  much  for 
my  father.  Jealousy  and  hatred  for  the  man  he  felt  indirectly  responsible 
for  his  son's  death  overwhelmed  him.  As  we  retreated  through  the  garden  he 
shouted  hysterically,  his  words  ringing  through  the  air,  "You  killed  your 
son,  you  killed  your  son!"  I  still  remember  my  mother's  sobbing  and  my  fury 
at  my  father  for  his  cruel  accusation — and  a  sense  of  total  desolation. 

So  far,  the  references  I  have  made  to  my  father  have  shown  only  his 
uncontrollable  anger.   Such  a  description  of  him  is  unfairly  one-sided. 
Circumstances,  which  he  vainly  fought  to  alter,  deprived  him  of  his  fondest 
expectations  and  distorted  his  emotions.   His  expectations  in  marriage  were 
normal  for  the  time;  his  high  regard  for  women  and  willingness  to  share 
domestic  chores,  rare.   He  admired  my  mother's  intellectual  capacities, 
which  he  frequently  acknowledged  to  be  superior  to  his  own,  and  was  wholly 
sympathetic  with  her  effort  toward  legalization  of  women's  suffrage.  He 
believed  in  encouraging  women  in  the  sciences  and  arts.   (At  a  later  time 
he  engaged  Julia  Morgan,  then  a  budding  architect,  to  draw  the  plans  for 
his  Berkeley  church.)  His  social  liberalism  (he  called  himself  a  Christian 
Socialist)  had  cost  him  his  church  in  Cleveland.  But  he  was  a  fundamentalist 
Christian,  and  as  such  adultery  was  inconceivable  to  him.  When  the  blow  fell 
the  hurt  and  outrage  were  intensified  by  the  status  of  his  rival,  who  was  not 
only  a  brilliant  lawyer,  handsome  and  urbane,  but  also  inextricably  married. 
To  jealousy  was  added  humiliation  and  disgrace.   In  vain  he  appealed  to  the 
first  Mrs.  Wood  to  remove  the  disgrace  by  releasing  her  husband  from  the 
marriage  contract.  She  gave  her  Catholic  faith  as  the  reason  for  her 
refusal,  saying  in  addition  that  she  did  not  want  her  grandchildren  to  think 
of  her  as  a  divorced  woman.  Her  children,  all  adults,  stood  firmly  beside 
her  —  all  but  the  youngest  daughter,  Lisa,  whose  compassionate  and  loving 
nature  enabled  her  both  to  comfort  her  mother  and  to  understand  the  love 
her  father  had  for  my  mother.  The  eldest  son,  precisely  my  mother's  age, 
maintained  an  uncompromisingly  critical  stance  toward  his  father  and 
hostility  towards  my  mother  until  a  few  years  before  her  death.   Suddenly, 
as  though  taken  by  a  swift  enlightenment,  he  wrote  my  mother  to  affirm  his 


realization  of  the  depth  and  closeness  of  his  father's  and  my  mother's 
relationship,  lamenting  that  this  realization  had  not  come  before  his 
father's  death.  For  my  mother,  who  longed  for  reconciliation  with  her 
Erskine's  family,  this  was  a  poignant  moment  of  fulfillment. 

My  father  made  frequent  appeals  to  my  mother  to  reconsider  her  decision 
to  leave  home  and  to  return  to  him.  He  believed  her  to  be  the  victim  of  a 
temporary  infatuation,  almost  to  a  fever  that  would  run  its  course.  To  him, 
Wood  was  a  skillful  enticer  of  women,  persuasive  enough  to  cause  another  man's 
wife  to  cast  aside  her  Christian  principles  and  to  enter  a  life  of  sin.  For 
years  he  held  out  the  hope  that  "his  Sara"  would  "see  the  light."  Years 
after  she  was  patently  lost  to  him  he  would  send  her  flowers  on  her  birthday 
with  the  Biblical  quote,  "Love  never  faileth."  My  father's  life  was 
shattered.  He  had  lost  his  wife,  his  Portland  job  was  no  longer  tenable, 
his  status  was  diminished,  and  as  an  inadvertent  dark  consequence  of  the 
separation,  he  had  lost  his  son.  My  brother  and  I  were  the  focus  of  his  love. 
He  gave  us,  in  spite  of  his  modest  financial  resources,  a  comfortable  home 
in  a  "good"  neighborhood,  consistent  medical  care,  music  lessons,  and  excur 
sions  to  the  country,  Yosemite  and  Big  Sur,  which  we  learned  to  love.  I 
lived  with  my  father  until  my  seventeenth  year,  the  year  of  the  Berkeley 
fire.  Our  house  was  destroyed  in  the  conflagration  and,  although  friends  of 
my  father  offered  us  temporary  quarters,  it  seemed  logical  for  me  to  join 
my  mother  in  San  Francisco.   Instead  of  asking  if  I  might  go  I  simply 
announced  (with  pounding  heart)  my  decision  which,  to  my  amazed  relief,  my 
father  accepted  without  contest.  After  two  decades  of  living  alone  he 
entered  into  a  platonic  marriage  with  a  pious,  churchly  woman  to  whom  he 
could  confide  his  abiding  dismay.   On  his  deathbed  my  father  said  to  her, 
"Tell  Sara  I  forgive  her."  While  still  insisting  on  being  wronged,  his 
forgiveness  was  not  only  a  capitulation,  but  also  a  loving  surrender. 

My  father  tried  to  protect  us  from  what  he  passionately  believed  to  be 
the  evil  influence  of  the  doctrine  of  free  love,  openly  endorsed  and 
practiced  by  my  mother  and  C.E.S.W.  He  viewed  their  relationship  as  ungodly 
and  unprincipled.  His  children  above  all  should  be  kept  from  contamination. 
What  he  could  not  comprehend  was  the  complexity,  depth,  and  endurance  of  their 
union.  It  was  not  the  trivial  affair  of  his  imagining,  but  an  affinity 
stemming  from  and  nourished  by  a  love  of  poetry,  ardent  commitment  to  social 
change,  and  compassion  for  human  suffering.  Ironically  enough,  it  was  the 
tenderness,  warmth,  compatibility,  and  mutual  devotion  that  set  my  mother 
and  C.E.S.W.  apart  as  having  an  ideal  marriage.  In  her  oral  history,  my 
mother  says  "...we  were  willing  to  make  almost  any  sacrifice  on  earth  to 
establish  a  life  together."  One  of  those  sacrifices  was  to  relinquish  custody 
of  her  children  to  my  father  —  a  condition  necessary  to  obtain  her  divorce. 
My  brother  and  I  never  questioned  the  "rightness"  of  the  relationship  between 
our  mother  and  Pops.  On  the  contrary,  we  believed  in  and  defended  it,  in 
spite  of  experiencing  occasional  social  ostracism. 


Their  rapport  was  so  profound,  their  delight  in  one  another  so 
fulfilling  that  they  might  easily  have  shut  out  the  world.  On  the  contrary, 
their  home  whether  on  Russian  Hill,  or  later  at  The  Cats  in  Los  Gatos, 
became  a  gathering  place  for  poets,  musicians,  civil  libertarians,  and 
leaders  of  the  Jewish  cultural  community,  some  of  whom  Pops  had  known  through 
his  legal  connection  with  the  banking  firm  of  Lazard  Freres.  Mother  and 
Pops  were  fearless.  Two  startling  instances  come  to  mind.  The  first  had  to 
do  with  the  suffrage  campaign.  My  mother  agreed  to  attend  a  play,  in  a  San 
Francisco  theater,  which  portrayed  Woodrow  Wilson.  She  agreed,  further,  to 
rise  in  the  middle  of  the  play  to  say,  'tor.  President,  when  will  you  support 
the  suffrage  amendment?"  The  local  suffrage  group  had  guaranteed  the  presence 
of  a  large  contingent  of  their  membership  which  would  loudly  applaud  my 
mother's  question.  Unfortunately  only  a  few  turned  up  and  instead  of  thunder 
ing  applause  one  heard  only  the  delicate  clapping  of  a  few  gloved  hands.  It 
was  said  that  the  actor  went  white  under  his  white  paint.  My  face  (for  she 
had  taken  me  with  her  for  moral  support)  was  flaming  with  embarrassment.   The 
deed  done,  but  not  the  play,  we  rose  to  leave.   The  ladies  whom  we  passed  on 
the  way  out  drew  their  skirts  aside  in  distaste.  I  was  proud  of  my  mother's 
courage,  but  hated  to  see  her  shunned. 

On  another  occasion,  my  mother  and  Pops  and  Bishop  Parsons,  of  Grace 
Cathedral,  were  scheduled  to  address  a  meeting  to  protest  the  draft  (in  World 
War  I).   The  newspapers  had  announced  that  the  first  three  speakers  (they 
were  the  first  three)  would  be  arrested.   I  attended  the  meeting  with 
apprehension  and  fear.  The  hall  was  filled  with  police.   I  fully  expected 
to  see  my  mother  and  Pops  hauled  off  to  jail.  They  spoke  firmly  and  with 
deep  conviction.  No  move  was  made  to  arrest  them,  for  what  I  could  not  have 
known  as  a  child  of  eight  was  the  reluctance,  at  that  time,  to  arrest  people 
of  standing  in  the  community.  Apparently,  however,  my  father  was  apprehensive 
too,  for  he  told  me  that  he  had  gone  to  the  meeting  with  sufficient  funds  to 
bail  my  mother  out,  had  the  newspaper  predictions  come  true. 

It  is  little  wonder  that  —  devastated  by  my  brother's  death,  the  pain 
intensified  by  her  inadvertent  role  at  the  wheel  —  my  mother  should  eventually 
have  a  severe  nervous  breakdown.  While  her  son's  death  was  for  her  the 
ultimate  personal  tragedy,  anyone  familiar  with  her  poems  will  recognize  in 
her  nature  a  despondent  side.  The  breakdown,  which  she  does  not  mention  in 
her  oral  history,  occurred  several  years  after  the  auto  accident,  years 
shadowed  by  brooding  and  insomnia.  Pops  met  this  crisis  in  his  usual  steady, 
competent,  caring  way.   The  house  at  1020  Broadway  in  San  Francisco  (which 
became  their  residence  after  Pops'  final  departure  from  Portland)  was  turned 
into  a  temporary  hospital.   Extraordinary  precautions  were  necessary  for  her 
care.  I  was  about  fifteen  years  old  at  the  time  and  had  succeeded  in  over 
coming  my  father's  objections  to  regular  visits  to  my  mother.  As  a 
consequence  I  had  come  to  accept  and  love  Pops  as  a  second  father.   Our 
concern  for  someone  we  each  loved  so  dearly  drew  us  together  in  a  new  mature, 
supportive  way.  We  depended  upon  one  another  for  comfort  and  hope,  for  his 
Sara  and  my  mother  was  for  the  duration  of  the  breakdown  beyond  our  reach. 


We  had  no  way  of  knowing  how  long  this  isolation  from  her  would  last.  When, 
in  about  a  year's  time,  she  regained  her  joyousness  and  will  to  live  our  own 
joy  was  inexpressible.  Pops  and  I  were  bound  together  indissolubly  by  this 
long  period  of  shared  darkness. 

But  the  event  that  brought  all  three  of  us  in  close  and  prolonged 
relationship  as  a  family  was  a  year  of  travel  together  in  Europe.  In  1923, 
Pops  and  Mother  decided  to  go  to  Italy  for  an  indefinite  stay  with  the 
possibility  of  permanent  residence  abroad.  They  invited  me  to  join  them.  I 
announced  my  decision  to  accompany  them  to  my  father  who,  to  my  surprise, 
put  up  no  opposition.  He  did  not  answer,  just  looked  at  me  steadily.  His 
anger   seemed  spent  and  I  felt  a  vague  pity  for  him,  a  pity  that  has  deepened 
with  the  years.  From  this  time  on  Pops  took  first  place  as  a  father  in  my 
life.  We  roamed  the  museums  of  Naples,  Rome,  and  Florence  together.  He 
had  always  been  interested  in  painting — had,  indeed,  known  some  of  the 
foremost  American  painters  of  the  early  part  of  the  century — Ryder,  Hassam, 
Weir — and  had  purchased  their  works.  He  was  also  an  amateur  painter.  He 
was  pleased  with  my  response  to  painting  and  sculpture.  For  although  my 
mother  enjoyed  the  visual  arts  she  was  essentially  a  literary  person.  This 
bond  between  Pops  and  me  was  a  deep  satisfaction  to  my  mother.  My  interest 
in  art  fostered  by  Pops'  teaching,  continued  throughout  my  life. 

It  is  apparent  from  what  I  have  told  of  my  childhood  that  my  contacts 
with  my  mother  were  discontinuous.  As  a  little  child,  I  found  the  infrequency 
of  our  companionship  vaguely  unsettling,  which  may  account  for  my  mother's 
description  of  me  as  "very  gloomy  a  great  deal  of  the  time."  Continuity, 
however,  is  no  guarantee  of  sympathetic  companionship.  While  it  was  difficult 
to  grow  up  in  an  adult  world  where  I  was  expected  to  be  more  or  less  "on  my 
own,"  there  were  considerable  rewards.  Poetry  and  gardens  were  my  mother's 
enduring  passions  and  she  passed  on  a  love  of  both  to  me.  Poetry,  especially, 
drew  us  close  together.   In  her  poem  "Kay"  the  gloom  has  become  "A  shy  deep 
stream  of  sombre  water"  from  which  she  finds  healing. 

Discussions  of  poetry  were  an  accompaniment  to  nearly  every  meal.  For 
Sara  and  Erskine  work  was  always  in  progress,  and  the  conversation  would 
center  on  the  current  manuscript.  From  my  early  teens,  I  entered  into  the 
turbulent  literary  discussions,  never  patronized  nor  put  down.  Literary 
friends  treated  me  with  equal  seriousness.  Genevieve  Taggard  wrote  in  the 
copy  she  gave  me  of  her  book,  For  Eager  Lovers.  "For  Kay  Field,  who  helped 
with  the  title."  While  working  on  her  first  volume  of  poems,  The  Pale  Woman, 
my  mother  habitually  submitted  each  poem  for  my  opinion.  The  book  is 
dedicated  "To  Albert,  a  young  son  who  is  not  here  to  read,  and  to  Katherine, 
a  young  daughter  who  has  read  and  understood." 

I  acquired  early  a  favorable  bias  toward  "literary"  people  who  seemed 
to  me  to  have  exceptional  liveliness  and  charm.  This  partiality  toward 
writers  may  have  caused  me  to  be  drawn  on  first  acquaintance  to  Jim  Caldwell. 
At  the  time  of  our  meeting  he  was  teaching  in  the  English  department  of  the 
University  of  Wisconsin.  Meeting  him  was  indirectly  the  result  of  my  mother's 


earlier  suffrage  activities  for  she  had  campaigned  for  the  suffrage  amendment 
with  Mrs.  Robert  La  Follette,  Sr.  When  I  decided  to  go  to  the  University  of 
Wisconsin  my  mother  gave  me  a  letter  to  Mrs.  La  Follette,  who  promptly 
invited  me  to  the  La  Follette  farm  outside  Madison.  It  was  there  that  I 
met  Jim.  He  was  an  intimate  friend  of  the  La  Follette  family;  his  college 
roommate  had  been  Phil  La  Follette,  later  governor  of  Wisconsin. 

Jim  came  out  to  California  in  the  summer  of  1925  to  meet  Erskine  and 
Sara,  the  summer's  trip  conveniently  financed  by  a  teaching  post  at  Dominican 
College.  From  their  first  meeting  on  the  Los  Gatos  hill  there  was  an  under 
standing  between  them  that  deepened  with  the  years.  My  mother  and  Pops  could 
not  have  had  a  more  congenial  son-in-law.  Jim  and  I  were  married  at  The  Cats 
in  1929,  under  a  great  spreading  live  oak  which  stood  at  the  center  of  a 
little  amphitheater  dedicated  to  music  and  poetry.  Characteristically,  Mother 
and  Pops  made  a  festival  of  the  occasion.  Details  of  the  ceremony  and  the 
celebration  following  are  told  with  great  affection  by  them  in  a  book  called 
The  Beautiful  Wedding. 

After  receiving  his  Ph.D.  at  Harvard,  Jim  was  invited  to  join  the  English 
department  at  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley.   Los  Gatos  was  not 
too  far  away.   The  interplay  between  the  academic  life  as  we  knew  it  at 
Berkeley  and  the  artistic  life  burgeoning  at  "The  Cats"  would  take  too  long 
to  describe.   The  four  of  us  shared  one  another's  friends.  At  The  Cats,  we 
made  friends  with  Robin  and  Una  Jeffers,  William  Rose  Benet,  and  Yehudi 
Menuhin.   In  Berkeley,  we  introduced  Sara  and  Erskine  to  Alex  and  Helen 
Meiklejohn,  Josephine  Miles,  and  Walter  Hart.  The  intimate  interweaving  of 
our  lives  in  Berkeley  and  Los  Gatos  continued  for  fifteen  years. 

Sara's  life  with  Erskine  ended  in  1944  with  Erskine 's  death,  when  he 
was  just  short  of  ninety-two  years  old.  The  gap  between  their  ages  —  thirty 
years  —  was  now  a  formidable  reality,  for  she  faced  thirty  years  of  life 
alone.   For  several  years  she  stayed  on  at  The  Cats,  attended  by  a  faithful 
Italian  couple,  the  Marengos.   Sara  directed  the  intensity  of  her  sorrow 
into  preparing  a  book  of  Erskine 's  collected  poems,  published  by  the  Vanguard 
Press  in  1949.   She  was  encouraged  in  this  undertaking  by  William  Rose  Benet, 
who  wrote  the  introduction.   Sara,  in  addition  to  choosing  the  poems,  wrote 
a  foreword  in  which  she  summarized  Erskine 's  social  philosophy. 

When  Mary  and  Vincent  Marengo  were  forced  by  illness  and  age  to  retire, 
the  burden  of  running  The  Cats  became  too  heavy.  No  couple  could  replace 
the  devoted,  hard-working  Marengos.  To  find  any  adequate  domestic  help  in 
war  time  was  virtually  impossible,  for  the  war  industries,  with  their  high 
wage  scale,  absorbed  the  best  of  the  labor  market.  A  move  to  Berkeley  was 
the  logical  step,  although  for  my  mother,  a  melancholy  break  with  the  past. 
Jim  and  I  helped  her  with  the  difficult  task  of  moving  the  belongings  she 
wanted  to  keep,  disposing  of  the  cumbersome  accumulations  of  a  lifetime,  and 
finding  a  comfortable  house  in  Berkeley. 


To  find  a  setting  as  rural  as  the  Los  Gatos  hillside  was  of  course 
impossible.   But  after  a  long  search  we  found  a  stream-side  house  built  deep 
in  the  woods  of  Chabot  Canyon,  in  Northeast  Oakland.  She  took  with  her  many 
of  the  beautiful  furnishings  from  The  Cats:  Chinese  furniture  and  rugs, 
pictures  by  Hassam  and  Weir,  a  library  of  poetry,  her  Steinway  piano,  and  her 
noble  affectionate  police  dog,  Barda.   Once  she  settled,  she  began  planning 
a  garden,  harmonious  to  the  woodland  setting.   She  was  an  intuitive  landscape 
architect.  Some  people  garden  for  exercise.  For  Sara,  gardening  was 
creative  thinking  in  greens  and  colored  petals.  She  used  to  say  that  most 
gardens  exist  in  the  mind,  meaning  that  the  plants  one  chose  for  hopeful 
simultaneous  blooming  did  not  always  oblige.  But  for  her,  they  bloomed  as 
punctually  and  luxuriantly  as  the  pictured  flowers  in  the  garden  catalogues. 

Planning  the  garden  and  modifying  the  house  structure  were  healing 
distractions  from  the  painful  parting  from  Los  Gatos,  and  to  this  new  setting 
Mother  brought  her  special  kind  of  pleasurable  concentration.   She  continued 
to  support  the  many  humanitarian  causes  with  which  she  had  been  long  identified, 
especially  the  American  Civil  Liberties  Union,  on  whose  board  she  served. 
She  entertained  her  friends  and  enjoyed  a  special  friendship  with  Walter  Hart, 
whom  she  frequently  met  for  long  afternoons  of  literary  interchange. 

Her  pleasure  in  her  new  environment  was  considerable,  but  all  too  brief. 
A  surveyor's  mark  posted  on  her  property  was  an  ominous  sign  that  this  small 
paradise  would  come  to  an  end.   The  real  estate  agent  who  sold  her  the 
property  had  kept  from  her  the  fact  that  a  freeway  was  planned  to  cut  through 
her  canyon. 

Jim  and  I  found  her  a  house  close  to  our  own  —  architect-designed  and 
surrounded  by  a  garden.   To  the  east  was  a  wooded  lot  which  she  eventually 
purchased.   But  she  was  never  satisfied  with  this  new  location  and  mourned 
the  loss  of  the  house  by  the  stream. 

For  some  years  she  continued  a  mentally  active  life.   It  was  at  this 
time  that  she  was  interviewed  for  her  oral  history.  But  a  series  of  strokes 
made  her  dependent  on  nursing  care  and  shut  her  away  from  the  active  world. 
In  spite  of  her  integrity  and  strength,  I  do  not  think  that  she  recovered 
psychologically  from  Erskine's  death.   In  her  mind,  and  in  the  minds  of  the 
many  who  had  known  them,  Erskine  and  Sara  were  inseparable.  Albert  Bender, 
a  devoted  friend,  had,  in  earlier  days  commissioned  Ed  Grabhorn  to  print  a 
volume  of  selected  poems  by  S.B.F.  and  C.E.S.W.  He  asked  Jim  Caldwell  to 
write  the  foreword;  in  it  he  said,  "It  is  altogether  right  that  their  notable 
companionship  should  be  symbolized  by  this  physical  binding  together  of  their 
poems,  which,  since  they  seem  often  to  start  from  the  rich  impulse  of  a  shared 
life,  are  already  closely  interbound."  For  Sara  Bard  Field  Wood,  although 
she  tried  bravely  to  carry  on  alone,  her  life,  in  its  deepest  meaning,  ended 
with  his. 

Katherine  Field  Caldwell 
December  1979 
Berkeley,  California 


INDEX --Katharine  Field  Caldwell 

Abramowitsch,  Bernard  and  Eva,  71- 


Adams,  Ansel,  68-69 
Addams ,  Jane,  53-54 
Alma  Trio,  74 
American  Civil  Liberties  Union, 

board,  71,  127-128 
Anderson,  Judith,  124,  131-132 
Anderson,  Marian,  78 
Anna  Head  School,  Berkeley,  127, 

Asian  Art  Museum,  San  Francisco, 

208.  215ff-222,  230-231,  238 

Bailer,  Adolph,  71,  74 
Bender,  Albert,  75,  169-170 
Benedict,  Burton,  167 
Bennett,  Mary  Woods,  190,  197 
Berkeley:  Art  Commission,  25; 

parks,  25;  public  schools,  24, 

56-57,  86-87,  126-127,  130, 

156-157;  University  and 

Shattuck  Avenues,  25;  Vine 

Lane,  23,  27 
Berkeley  fire,  1923,  23,  58-60, 

Berkeley  High  School,  56-57,  86- 

87,  130,  156-157 
Berkeley  Piano  Club,  73 
bicycling,  28 

Billings,  Warren  K. ,  22-23 
Bingham,  Edwin,  62 
Bingham,  Woodbridge  and  Ursula, 

Bissinger,  Marjorie  [now  Marjorie 

Seller],  214 
Bogas,  Roy,  71 
Boodberg,  Peter,  189 
Boston  Museum  of  Fine  Arts,  110, 

112-113,  209,  222 
Boynton,  Ray,  74,  231 
Bronson,  Bertrand  H.  "Bud"  and 

Mildred,  121-122,  124,  126, 

142,  150-151 

Browne,  Maurice  and  Nellie  [Ellen] 

62,  65 
Brundage,  Avery,  113,  216-218, 


Brundage,  Elizabeth,  223 
Brundage  Collection,  198-200, 

Bufano,  Beniamino,  34,  74-75,  237 

Caen,  Estelle,  148 

Cahill,  James,  117,  215-217,  220, 


Calder,  Alexander,  233 
Caldwell,  Dan,  87,  141,  147ff-159, 

229,  236 
Caldwell,  James  R. ,  31,  33,  44, 

58,  60,  79-80,  87,  96,  98-103, 

111,  114,  118ff-173,  169,  192, 

210,  215,  224,  230ff-240 
Caldwell,  Sara,  10,  44,  87,  120, 

127,  130,  147ff-159,  229 
California  Palace  of  the  Legion  of 

Honor,  San  Francisco,  115-116, 

164-165,  171-172 
Campbell,  Joseph,  235 
Car dwell,  Kenneth,  232 
Carmel,  California,  Peter  Pan  Inn, 

137;  Point  Lobos,  28,  31 
Cats,  The,  Los  Gatos ,  46,  72,  77- 

78,  84-85,  103,  152 
Chicago  Art  Institute,  51-52,  87, 

210,  223-224 

Chinatown,  San  Francisco,  26,  230 
Cline,  James  M.  and  Jane,  121-122, 

142,  150-151 

Clinton,  Hillary  Rodham,  142 
communism,  65 
Congregational  Church,  Berkeley, 


Coomaraswamy ,  Ananda  Kent,  113 
Coppa's  Restaurant,  San  Francisco, 

Cowan,  Geoffrey,  55 


d'Argence,  Rene-Yvon,  183,  215-218 
Darrow,  Clarence,  11-15,  55,  150 
Dennes,  William  R.  "Will"  and 

Margaret,  125 
de Young  Museum,  San  Francisco, 

164-165,  167,  171 
Dillon,  Percy,  20 
Draft  Board,  128-129 
Dumas,  Raphael,  107 
Durant,  Kenneth,  61 
Durham,  Willard  "Bull",  120-121, 


Ealy,  Caro  Weir,  239 
East-West  Arts  Foundation,  San 

Francisco,  183 
Ehrgott,  Albert,  1-6,  13,  17-22, 

24-25,  27-32,  36,  38-42,  56-60, 

68,  83,  95,  101-102 
Ehrgott,  Albert  Field,  2-9,  11, 

14,  20-22,  25-26,  33-34,  36-43, 

54,  64,  239 

Ehrgott,  Mabel,  27,  83 
Eliot,  T.S.,  123,  238 
Elkus,  Albert,  39,  71,  73,  134, 


Emmett,  Dorothy,  105-106,  108 
Erskine,  Dorothy  and  Morse,  72, 

201,  210,  213-214 
Esherick,  Joseph,  153-154 

Fairbank,  John,  98,  100,  106 
Field,  Eugene,  7 
Field,  Marion,  15 
Field,  Sara  Bard,  Iff 
Fleishhacker,  Mortimer,  116 
Fontein,  Jan,  221-222 
Frankenstein,  Alfred,  202 
Freer  Gallery,  Washington,  D.C. , 

222,  237 
Friends  of  Far  Eastern  Art, 

Fromm  Institute  of  Lifelong 

Learning,  University  of  San 

Francisco,  204 
Fry,  Amelia  Roberts,  22 

Gale,  Zona,  93 

Gilson,  Etienne,  104-105 

Golden  Gate  International 

Exposition,  Treasure  Island, 

1939-1940,  33,  165-168,  174, 


Grabhorn,  Edwin,  63-65,  198 
Green,  Cornelia,  104,  110 
Griff ing,  Robert,  200,  209-210, 

Gump's  [store],  San  Francisco, 

168,  200,  209 

Haas,  Elise,  174,  176-177,  183, 


Hart,  Walter  Morris,  122-123,  126 
Harvard  University,  Fogg  Museum, 

110,  112,  114-116 
Hassam,  Chllde,  76,  87,  229 
Hayes,  Peggy  Calder,  233 
Horn,  Walter,  178-179,  198 
Howe,  Thomas  Carr,  165 
Huff,  Elizabeth,  169 
Hughes,  Langston,  78 
Hull  House,  Chicago,  52-54 

International  Ladies  Garment 
Workers  Union,  211 

Jeffers,  Una  and  Robinson,  133- 

137,  236,  238 
Jewish  families,  San  Francisco  55- 


Johannsen,  Homer,  52,  94 
Johannsen,  Margaret,  52,  92 
Jung,  Carl  Gustav,  107 

Kappa  Alpha  Theta  sorority, 
University  of  Wisconsin,  98 

Keightley,  David,  224-225 

Kennedy,  Alma  Schmidt,  23-24 

Kent,  Alice,  210,  213 

Kent,  Elizabeth  [Mrs.  William 
Kent,  Sr.],  51 

Key  Route,  and  Southern  Pacific 
Railroad,  Berkeley,  25-26 

Kluckholm,  Clyde,  100,  106 

Kraus,  Lili,  71 

Kroeber,  Theodora,  234-235 

La  Follette,  Philip  and  Isabel, 

93-94,  96 

Lauer,  Eleanor,  196 
Lawton,  Helena  Steilberg,  121 
Lee,  Ching  Wah,  183,  185 


Lehman,  Benjamin  H.,  103,  119-124, 

Lehman,  Henriette  Goodrich  Durham, 

107,  132-134,  201 
Lewis,  R.  E.,  115,  233 
Liebes,  Dorothy,  182-183 
Liebes,  Leon,  75 

loyalty  oath  controversy,  137-141 
Luhan,  Mabel  Dodge,  136 
Luhan,  Tony,  68 
Lutzker,  Mary-Ann,  208 

Maenchen,  Anna,  162,  179-180 
Maenchen,  Otto,  175,  178-180, 

185-186,  189-190,  194,  198,  227 
Malone,  Dudley  Field,  93 
Marengo,  Vincent  and  Mary,  77 -IB, 

103,  153,  160 
Martin,  Anne,  22 
Masters,  Edgar  Lee,  64 
Maybeck,  Bernard,  23,  232,  234 
McGiffert,  Elizabeth  and  Arthur, 


McGillicuddy,  Padrian,  119 
McLaughlin,  Sylvia,  213 
Meiklejohn,  Alexander,  96-98,  128, 


Meiklejohn,  Helen,  48-49 
Menuhin,  Hepzibah,  73 
Menuhin,  Yaltah,  73 
Menuhin,  Yehudi ,  71-72,  74,  148 
Meyer,  Agnes  Ernst  [Mrs.  Eugene 

Meyer] ,  93 

Miles,  Josephine,  143-145 
Milhaud,  Darius,  73,  186 
Mills  College,  169-171,  175,  183, 

186,  188,  190ff-208,  231;  music 

department,  73 
Ming,  Chinese  servant,  66 
Minor,  Lydia  and  Bob,  92 
Morley,  Grace  McCann,  116,  165, 

Muscatine,  Charles,  140 

Nara,  Japan,  and  Nara  Ehon.  187, 

Neumeyer,  Alfred,  186,  190,  198, 


Packard,  Harry,  226-227 

Panama  Pacific  International 

Exposition,  1915,  19; 

Suffragists  booth 

[Congressional  Union] ,  22 
Parkinson,  Thomas  F.  "Tom,"  139 
Parsons,  Marion,  131 
Parton,  Lemuel,  17,  19,  150 
Parton,  Mary  Field,  12-13,  17,  19- 

20,  42,  53,  55,  65,  84-85,  150 
Paul,  Alice,  22,  53 
Pepper,  Stephen  C.,  185-187 
Point  Lobos,  California,  28,  31 
Post,  Chandler,  111 
Potter,  Beatrix,  30-31 
Pound,  Ezra,  90-91 
Powys ,  John  Cowper ,  64 
Powys,  Llewelyn,  64,  67 
Prieto,  Antonio,  191 
Pulitzer,  Anita,  92 

Radcliffe  College,  103ff-116 

Reicher,  Hedwiga,  62 

Reinhardt,  Aurelia  Henry,  169-170, 

186,  197 

Rejto,  Gabor,  74,  148,  155 
Rivera,  Diego,  182 
Rollins,  Lloyd,  165 
Ross,  John  and  Nancy,  125-126, 


Rothwell,  Easton  and  Ginny,  193 
Rowell,  Galen,  156 
Rowell,  Margaret,  142,  148, 


Ruch,  Barbara,  205 
Rukeyser,  Muriel,  133 
Rukeyser,  William  L. ,  133 
Ryder,  Albert  Pinkham,  75,  87-88 

Sachs,  Paul,  115-116 

St.  Mary's  College,  Moraga, 

California,  202-203 
Salmony,  Alfred,  169-170,  183-184, 

186,  188,  197 

Salz,  Helen  and  Ansley,  70-71,  128 
San  Francisco  art  museums.   See 
California  Palace  of  the  Legion 
of  Honor;  Asian  Art  Museum; , 
San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art. 
San  Francisco  Arts  Commission,  116 


San  Francisco  Museum  of  Art,  and 

Women's  Board,  165,  171-172, 

Sanford,  Christine  and  Nevitt, 


Santayana,  George,  107 
Schaeffer,  Rudolph,  180-181, 

Schafer,  Edward;  189 
Schorer,  Mark  and  Ruth,  138 
Schumann-He ink,  Ernestine,  73 
Shangraw,  Clarence,  222 
Shiota,  Mr.,  [art  dealer,  San 

Francisco],  129,  168 
Sickman,  Laurence,  227-228 
Smith,  Lisa  Wood,  36,  103 
Society  for  Asian  Art,  183, 

210ff-225,  235 
Stackpole,  Ralph,  69-70,  74, 

175-176,  230,  238 
Steffens,  Lincoln,  65-66,  136 
Steffens,  Pete,  136 
Steilberg,  Walter,  118-119,  121 
Stern,  Marjorie,  210-211,  213-214 
Stevens,  Doris,  93 
Stewart,  George  R. ,  140 
Storey,  Morfield,  103 
Strong,  Edward  W.  "Ed",  141,  155, 


Sullivan,  Michael,  216,  220 
Sullivan,  Noel,  78-79,  103,  119, 

136-137,  201 

laggard,  Genevieve,  61-62,  81,  239 
Temple  of  the  Wings,  Berkeley, 

Boynton  family,  24 
Thomas,  Dylan,  137-139 
Tolman,  Edward  and  Kathleen,  125, 

129,  139-140,  143 
Toth,  Andor,  74 

Town  and  Gown  Club,  Berkeley,  33 
Twachtman,  John  Henry,  75,  87 

Ulvsses.  90 

University  of  California, 

Berkeley,  Department  of  Art, 
185-186;  Department  of  English, 
118ff-152;  Extension  Division, 
127;  stadium,  31.   See  loyalty 
oath  controversy. 

University  of  Wisconsin,  96-100 

Van  Volkenburg,  Ellen  [Mrs. 
Maurice  Browne],  92,  94 
Vernon,  Mabel,  22 

Warner,  Langdon,  110-113,  166-169, 

171,  181ff-187,  227 
Warner,  Olin,  238 
Weir,  Julian  Aulin,  239 
Welch,  Marie,  134 
Whipple,  T.  K.  and  Mary  Ann,  125 
White,  John,  232,  234 
White,  Lynn,  190-193,  200 
Whitehead,  Alfred  North,  104-106, 


Winter,  Ella,  136 
Wold,  Emma,  22 
Wolfe,  Bob,  61-62 
Woman  Geographers,  234-235 
Women's  Party,  11,  43,  48,  96; 

meeting,  Washington,  D.C. , 

1921,  10,  51-55 
Wood,  Charles  Erskine  Scott,  3,  9, 

15,  17,  27,  32,  34-51,  54, 

58ff95,  97,  102-103,  110,  118, 

128-129,  136-137,  152-153,, 

160-162,  229ff-240 
Wormser,  Robert,  55-56 
Wright,  Cedric,  69 

Yanagi,  Soetsu,  113 

Yosemite  National  Park,  9,  28,  31 

Young,  Ella,  119-129 

Zen  Center,  Berkeley,  238 

Suzanne  Bassett  Riess 

Grew  up  in  Bucks  County,  Pennsylvania.  Graduated  from 
Goucher  College,  B.A.  in  English,  1957. 
Post-graduate  work,  University  of  London  and  the 
University  of  California,  Berkeley,  in  English  and 
history  of  art. 

Feature  writing  and  assistant  woman's  page  editor, 
Globe -Times .  Bethlehem,  Pennsylvania. 
Volunteer  work  on  starting  a  new  Berkeley  newspaper. 
Natural  science  decent  at  the  Oakland  Museum. 
Free-lance  Photographer. 

Editor  in  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  since  1960, 
interviewing  in  the  fields  of  art,  environmental 
design,  social  and  cultural  history,  horticulture, 
journalism,  photography,  Berkeley  and  University 

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